Jericho Cruz and June Mar Fajardo scored 30 big points each as San Miguel snapped TNT’s 5-game winning run and extend its own to 4 via 115-99 victory over the flagship team of the MVP group, Thursday night in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon Ciy.
The 31-year old Cruz, who came over from the NLEX Road Warriors last March as an unrestricted free agent and signed a three-year deal with the Beermen, dropped a career-high with 16 coming in the pivotal third frame where the Leo Austria-mentored squad established a double-digit advantage and never looked back.
The 6-time league MVP Fajardo, on the other hand, added 16 boards, 3 steals and a block in 38 minutes of superb play.
“This is an important game and we felt this would decide our fate [in making the Top 2],” said Austria during the post-game press conference.
“We want to avoid any complications [of a tie]. We’re a victim of the quotient tiebreak last conference,” he added in reference to their relegation to fifth place after a three-way tie for third with TNT and Meralco in the last Governors’ Cup.
The league’s winningest team was eventually eliminated by the twice-to-beat Bolts in the quarterfinals.
“Wala akong masasabi ngayon, the guys really stepped up big time.”
Simon Enciso finished with 16 points while CJ Perez and Rodney Brondial chipped in 12 markers apiece with the latter hauling down a game-high 18 rebounds.
The Beermen take a 2-day break and return to action on Sunday, July 10, 4:30pm against the much-improved Blackwater Bossing.
San Miguel 115 – Cruz 30, Fajardo 30, Enciso 16, Perez 12, Brondial 12, Herndon 5, Tautuaa 5, Lassiter 3, Zamar 2, Canete 0, Pessumal 0, Faundo 0.
TNT 99 – K. Williams 20, Castro 17, Erram 12, Montalbo 12, Pogoy 11, M. Williams 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Tungcab 3, Alejandro 3, Cruz 0, Khobuntin 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarterscores: 26-22, 53-47, 83-71, 115-99.