The San Miguel Beermen remain the only undefeated team in the 2018 Philippine Cup as they outran bitter rivals TNT Katropa, 88-76, in an out-of-town affair at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City, Saturday night.
The reigning three-time all-Filipino champions have improved their card to 3-0, while the Katropa are having a slow start to the tourney with a 1-2 slate.
June Mar Fajardo was at the forefront of SMB’s attack with 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter each scored 15, with the former adding 11 boards. Alex Cabagnot had 11 and 12 caroms.
The Katropa actually had the upper hand early in the match thanks to their fiery 16-5 start, anchored by Jayson Castro. But the Beermen slowly regained their form, especially in the second frame, forcing a tight bout afterwards.
Both squads were still going at it early in the final frame as the quarter saw five deadlocks, until SMB heated up and unloaded a 10-3 run — ended by Cabagnot’s corner trey — to establish a favorable 81-74 lead with 2:03 left.
The run doused cold water on TNT’s hopes. San Miguel, however, still played merciless basketball afterwards, nailing seven more points courtesy of Santos and Lassiter to completely put the Katropa to sleep.
Despite scoring just five points, the all-around Chris Ross still made his presence felt for the Beermen with eight assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Brian Heruela also had a hand on defense with three steals.
Troy Rosario had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Texters, who shot just 31 percent from the floor. Mo Tautuaa had 12 points and six boards, while sophomore Roger Pogoy chipped in 11 markers spiked by three triples.
San Miguel will look to make it four in a row when they go up against the NLEX Road Warriors on January 19, Friday, 7:00 PM at Cuneta Astrodome, while TNT will try to bounce back versus the Blackwater Elite on January 17, Wednesday, 7:00 PM at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel 88 – Fajardo 20, Lassiter 15, Santos 15, Cabagnot 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 8, Pessumal 7, Ross 5, Heruela 5, De Ocampo 2, Semerad 0, Mamaril 0, Lanete 0.
TNT 76 – Rosario 15, Tautuaa 12, Pogoy 11, Castro 9, Garcia 9, Williams 9, Semerad 6, Reyes 5, Golla 0, Carey 0, Torres 0, Onwubere 0.
Quarterscores: 14-24, 35-36, 58-61, 88-76.
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