Oct 10, 2021

Beermen strike back again, reduce fight with TNT to best-of-three

BEATEN badly the last time, San Miguel Beer returned the favor Sunday and once again forced a deadlock in its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against TNT with a 116-90 demolition at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

From a heart-to-heart talk among themselves after practice Saturday, the Beermen played with ferocity and purpose, and fashioned out their own dominant wire-to-wire victory to reduce the series to a best-of-three affair.

The two teams fight for the pivotal 3-2 lead in Game Five Wednesday.

"We're embarrassed in Game Three and I wasn't able to get to sleep. At nagkaroon kami ng emosyonal na paguusap," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

Taking to heart their shattering 98-115 loss Friday, the Beermen bounced back big time, thus, avoiding falling to a deep 1-3 hole.

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"We limited our turnovers this time. Turnovers ang culprit sa dalawang talo namin. Imagine giving away 29 points on turnovers and giving away 27 points on second-chance production," said Austria.

The Beermen limited themselves to 18 errors as they worked on all cylinders and completely outplayed a TNT side that continuously missed the services of Kelly Williams then lost another key stalwart in Poy Erram in an unfortunate mishap early in the second quarter.

Erram was rushed to a nearby hospital with the game still in progress as the 6-foot-8 center - down on the floor - got hurt after being landed upon by a crashing Moala Tautuaa.

But even before Erram's exit, San Miguel had pulled away, 39-19, on a mighty start provided by June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter.

Tautuaa, Terrence Romeo and CJ Perez, meanwhile provided sustaining power coming off the bench.

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Tautuaa top scored with 25 points that went with nine rebounds, while Romeo, Cabagnot, Lassiter, Fajardo, Santos and Perez all contributed double-digit markers.

"The key was we played as a team," said Tautuaa.

"In the first three games, we were always playing catch-up. What we wanted in this game was a good start, and we're able to do that," said Austria.

"And we're so focused on defense. That's the key, everybody stepped up," Austria added. (SB)

The scores:

SMB 116 - Tautuaa 25, Romeo 16, Lassiter 13, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Santos 11, Perez 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 4, Zamar 3, Gamalinda 2, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0, Sena 0.

TNT 90 - Castro 15, Khobuntin 13, M. Williams 11, Rosario 10, Exciminiano 8, Mendoza 6, Heruela 5, Montalbo 4, Alejandro 4, Erram 3, Marcelo 3, Reyes 2, Pogoy 2, Williams 0.

Quarters: 26-14, 57-32, 91-61, 116-90