Beermen escape with Game 1 win as late lapses hound Gin Kings

San Miguel secured an early advantage in their PBA 48th Season Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series against Brgy. Ginebra with a narrow 92-90 victory on Wednesday.

CJ Perez played a pivotal role in the Beermen’s win, scoring a conference-high 26 points and making crucial baskets. His performance allowed San Miguel to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series, as Brgy. Ginebra faltered towards the end with a turnover and two offensive rebounds surrendered to their opponents.

The Gin Kings seemed to be gaining momentum when Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar scored to give the defending champs a 79-73 lead. However, Perez responded with five consecutive points in a 7-0 run, helping San Miguel regain control. He continued to contribute, scoring four more points to extend the Beermen’s lead to 90-85 with 2:35 minutes remaining.

Perez also made important plays in other areas of the game. He secured a crucial offensive rebound, leading to a free throw by June Mar Fajardo, which brought the score to 91-90. In the following possession, Perez helped his team regain possession by tipping the ball to Chris Ross after a missed shot by Christian Standhardinger.

Although Ross missed two free throws, Brgy. Ginebra was unable to secure the rebound, resulting in another free throw by Fajardo, making it 92-90. The Gin Kings failed to get another shot off as Thompson turned the ball over with an errant pass to Standhardinger.

“I give all the credit to the players,” said SMB coach Jorge Gallent during the post-game press conference. “When we needed a big stop, I think they stopped them twice. When we had a chance to win, the players delivered.”

Bennie Boatwright contributed 23 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists, while Fajardo added 18 points and nine rebounds for San Miguel. The team will have an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the series on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Standhardinger recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Tony Bishop had 20 points and 11 rebounds, but their efforts were not enough to secure the necessary stops in the closing moments of the game.

Terrence Romeo was unable to play for San Miguel due to an ankle sprain.

The scores:

San Miguel 92 – Perez 26, Boatwright 23, Fajardo 18, Trollano 10, Lassiter 7, Cruz 6, Teng 2, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0, Ross 0.

Brgy. Ginebra 90 – Standhardinger 21, Bishop 20, Thompson 15, Malonzo 13, Pringle 9, Ahanmisi 6, Aguilar 6, Tenorio 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarterscores: 28-20, 47-47, 73-73, 92-90.

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