Pinto John Pinto of Barangay Ginebra drives against Raymond Almazan of Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup. PBA photo

SMB back in finals

May 26, 2024 Robert Andaya 180 views

THERE’S no stopping San Miguel Beer.

Even with a 19-point deficit staring them in the third quarter, the Beermen found a way to win — and reach the finals for the 45th time.

The trio of CJ Perez, Don Trollano and June Mar Fajardo led the scoring attack as San Miguel rose from the grave to frustrate Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 107-100, and complete a four-game sweep of their best-of-seven series in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Perez finished with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting, and four assists in 27 minutes of action while Trollano added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Jorge Gallent-mentored Beermen.

Fajardo, the seven-time PBA MVP, had a monster double-double performance with 17 points, 23 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and two steals in 39 minutes of play to help the Beermen advance to the finals.

Jericho Cruz and Terrence Romeo chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“The players did not quit. They really played well, especially at the start of the fourth (quarter),” said Gallent on an interview posted on official PBA website.

“They really wanted to end the series now. So kudos to them, they really played hard and helped one another inside,” added Gallent.

Gian Mamuyac led the E-Painters with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the floor, and five rebounds in 32 minutes of action for coach Yeng Guiao.

Adrian Nocum and Santi Santillan added 14 points each and Anton Asistio contributed 13 points.

Beau Belga, the most-experienced player on the team, had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a losing effort.

Rain or Shine, which dropped the first three games, appeared headed to victory when it took a commanding 73-54 lead from 55-41 halftime advantage.

But the game was not over yet for the Beermen, who rallied behind Perez and Fajardo.

Fajardo’s putback proved to be the final go-ahead basket before Perez, who had missed his first six attempts from beyond the arc, nailed his only triple to extend the lead to 104-100 with 25.7 seconds left.

The Beermen, however, will have to wait for their championship opponent.

Barangay Ginebra and Meralco will resume their own semifinal series with Game 5 on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Game time is 6:15 p.m.

With Japeth Aguilar leading the attack, the Gin Kings put up a masterful performance to beat the Bolts, 90-71, and even their series at 2-2.

The scores:

San Miguel (107) — Perez 26, Trollano 20, Fajardo 17, Cruz 11, Romeo 10, Teng 8, Bronidial 6, Ross 5, Tautuaa 2, Lassiter 2, Enciso 0.
Rain or Shine (100) — Mamuyac 30, Santillan 14, Nocum 14, Asistio 13, Belga 12, Clarito 8, Caracut 3, Ildefonso 2, Norwood 2, Demusis 2, Datu 0.
Quarterscores: 25-27, 41-55, 75-87, 107-100.

Game Sunday:

(Mall of Asia Arena)
6:15 p.m. — Meralco vs. Ginebra


San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
Game 1 — San Miguel 101, Rain or Shine 98.
Game 2 — San Miguel 106, Rain or Shine 89.
Game 3 — San Miguel 117, Rain or Shine 107.
Game 4 — San Miguel 107, Rain or Shine 100.
(San Miguel wins series, 4-0).

Ginebra vs. Meralco
Game 1 — Ginebra 92, Meralco 88.
Game 2 — Meralco 103, Ginebra 91.
Game 3 — Meralco 87, Ginebra 80.
Game 4 — Ginebra 90, Meralco 71
(Semifinal series tied at, 2-2)