Beermen clinch top seed with 9th straight win

San Miguel took another step closer to a historic elimination round sweep, securing a dominant 120-103 victory over NLEX in the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena on Sunday.

Led by CJ Perez’s impressive performance of 30 points and 9 rebounds, along with June Mar Fajardo’s double-double of 20 points and 21 rebounds, the Beermen solidified their position as the team to beat in the league.

Clinching the No. 1 spot and the coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, the Beermen now carry an immaculate 9-0 record.

In their quest for a sweep, the defending champs will face Blackwater next on Wednesday and Meralco on Saturday.

The last team to achieve such a feat was Talk ‘N Text in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, making San Miguel’s potential accomplishment even more remarkable.

NLEX, missing key player Robert Bolick due to the birth of his child, struggled to keep up with San Miguel’s relentless offense.

The Road Warriors now find themselves tied for third place with TNT and Magnolia at 5-4.

San Miguel set the tone early in the game and maintained control throughout, only trailing for a mere two minutes and 19 seconds after NLEX’s initial three-point lead.

“If we play the same way we’ve been playing, it would not bother us,” said coach Jorge Gallent on the eventuality of losing their first game. “For as long as they (the Beermen) play hard and know their roles, we’ll be okay.”

Jericho Cruz and Terrence Romeo contributed 15 points each, while Marcio Lassiter and Don Trollano added 14 points apiece for San Miguel.

On the other side, Enoch Valdez posted 18 points and 8 rebounds, with Jhan Nermal chipping in 16 points.

The scores:

San Miguel 120 – Perez 30, Fajardo 20, Romeo 15, Cruz 15, Lassiter 14, Trollano 14, Enciso 6, Brondial 4, Teng 2, Tautuaa 0, Ross 0.

NLEX 103 – Valdez 18, Nermal 16, Nieto 14, Anthony 12, Herndon 11, Rodger 8, Miranda 7, Semerad 7, Fajardo 4, Amer 2, Taha 2.

Quarterscores: 25-15, 50-41, 83-71, 120-103.

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