Jalalon Jio Jalalon of Magnolia battles Marcio Lassiter and Jericho Cruz of San Miguel Beer in Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Photo by Ernie Sarmiento

Game 5 to San Miguel

February 12, 2024 Robert Andaya 125 views
June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer looks to make a play. Photo by Ernie Sarmiento

ENTER Jericho Cruz.

Cruz nailed a back-breaking three-point shot from the right corner as San Miguel Beer escaped with a heart-stopping 108-98 win over hard-fighting Magnolia to move within a win of bagging the title in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Cruz’s dagger three-pointer with less than a minute left put the Beermen ahead, 102-96, after the Hotshots threatened at 96-99 behind a quick 6-0 run triggered by import Tyley Bey.

Magnolia was still at it, 98-102 after Bey’s two free throws with 48 seconds remaining.

But Bennie Boatwright canned two pressure-packed throws of his own to make it 104-98 and CJ Perez intercepted a pass by Aris Dionisio to complete a breakway dunk for 106-98.

Another turnover, this time by Mark Barroca, led to another basket by Chris Ross and a 10-point winning margin for San Miguel.

The win enabled San Miguel to snap a two-game losing skid and take a 3-2 lead against Magnolia in the best-of-seven title series.

Handled by coach Jorge Gallent, the Beermen can wrap up the title with another victory on Wednesday, Feb. 14 also at the Big Dome.

Cruz finished with 30 points, highlighted by eight three-pointers om 11-of-22 shooting from the field . He also added eight rebounds, four assists and four steal.

Boatwright added 21 points, six rebounds and four assists, Simon Enciso contributed 15 points and five rebounds,, Don Trollano had 10 points and Perez had eight.

Bey led the fight for Magnolia with 34 points on top of eight rebounds in 47 minutes.

Jio Jalalon, Ian Sangalang and Paul Leecontributed 17, 15 and 12 points, respectively.

Bur Mark Barroca struggled with only four poitrs on 2-of-7clip.

Meanwhile, Justin Brownlee acknowledged the love showered on him upon his return to the Philippines, but knows there’s a lot of work to do with less than two weeks to go before the opener of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

The Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player said he’s been trying to stay in condition even if he was away from the country as sooner or later, his services will be needed by the team as it embarks in two international tournaments for the year.

Aside from the Asia Cup qualifiers, the national squad is also preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Riga, Latvia from July 2-7.

The scores:

San Miguel (108) — Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Lassiter 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Brondial 0.
Magnolia (98) — Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0.
Quarterscores: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98.

Game Wednesday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7:30 p.m.– Magnolia vs. San Miguel

The results:

Game 1 — San Miguel def. Magnolia, 103-95.
Game 2 — San Miguel def. Magnolia, 109-85.
Game 3 — Magnolia def. San Miguel 88-80.
Game 4– Magnolia def. San Miguel, 96-85.
Game 5 — San Miguel def. Magnolia, 108-98.
(San Miguel leads series, 3-2)