Defending champion San Miguel Beer (SMB) forged a deciding Game 7 with a 104-88 rout of the TNT KaTropa in Game 6 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo scored nine of his 23 points in the last period on top of 21 rebounds and four blocks while forward Arwind Santos tallied 21 points and nine rebounds.
“All of them wanted to win despite a below par performance in the first half,” said SMB coach Leo Austria pertaining to his wards’ lethargic start. “We stayed focus especially Arwind (Santos) because they really wanted to win.”
Playmaker Alex Cabagnot and point guard Chris Ross added 19 and 14 points, respectively, while Ryan Roose Garcia contributed nine points also for the Beermen.
Jayson Castro finished with 19 points and five assists to lead TNT.
After a slim 26-27 lead in the first period, the KaTropa were able to extend their advantage to 53-45 at the halftime break via 26-19 attack highlighted by Castro’s nine points in the second quarter.
The Beermen, trailing by 12 points, 47-59, in the early going of third period, unleashed a 21-4 blitz capped by Gabby Espinas’ back-to-back baskets that allowed SMB to seize the lead, 68-63, with a minute and 46 seconds left in the third period.
San Miguel Beer decisively outscored TNT in the final canto, 34-19, to force a sudden-death match on Monday for the finals slot.
SAN Miguel: 104 – Fajardo 23, Santos 21, Cabgnot 19, Ross 14, Garcia 9, Lassiter 7, Espinas 5, McCarthy 2, De Ocampo 2, Agovida 1, Tubid 1, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Van Opstal 0.
TNT: 88 – Castro 19, Pogoy 12, Fonacier 12, Reyes 9, Williams 8, Rosales 7, Tautuaa 6, De Ocampo 5, Carey 3, Tamsi 3, Rosser 2, Seigle 2, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0.
Quarter scores: 26-27, 45-53, 70-69, 104-88.