Beermen sweep, dethrone Gin Kings

Despite not originally intending to, San Miguel achieved its desired revenge against Brgy. Ginebra by completing a sweep in the semifinals of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.

The Beermen secured their spot in the finals with a 94-91 victory over the Gin Kings at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, January 28.

After being swept by the Gin Kings in the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup last season, San Miguel returned the favor and wrapped up the series in just three games thanks to another impressive performance from import Bennie Boatwright.

Beermen head coach Jorge Gallent emphasized that their goal was simply to defeat the Gin Kings, regardless of the number of games it took.

“Never was,” said Gallent when asked if revenge was part of the team’s motivation. “Coming into this series, our mentality was to move forward, whether by three, or four, or five.”

Boatwright contributed 26 points and 13 rebounds, aiding the Beermen in their ninth consecutive win and their first appearance in the finals since the Philippine Cup last year and the Commissioner’s Cup in 2019.

The local players also stepped up in the crucial moments of the game, with CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz, Marcio Lassiter, and June Mar Fajardo making significant shots in the fourth quarter.

Despite Brgy. Ginebra’s attempt to close the gap with less than eight minutes remaining, San Miguel responded with a 7-0 run, capped off by a three-pointer from Perez, extending their lead to 90-79.

Although the Gin Kings had a chance to tie the game at 92-89 after Boatwright unexpectedly missed two crucial free throws, a costly turnover prevented them from doing so.

Fajardo sealed the victory by converting his free throws, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

Cruz contributed 17 points, Lassiter had 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals, and Perez added 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Tony Bishop recorded 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Scottie Thompson contributed 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger combined for 22 points and 15 rebounds.

Unfortunately for the Gin Kings, the loss was compounded by Jamie Malonzo’s departure from the game in the third quarter due to a knee injury.

The scores:

San Miguel 94 – Boatwright 26, Cruz 17, Lassiter 14, Perez 11, Fajardo 11, Trollano 6, Teng 6, Ross 3, Brondial 0, Tautuaa 0.

Brgy. Ginebra 91 – Bishop 25, Thompson 17, J. Aguilar 12, Malonzo 10, Standhardinger 10, Tenorio 8, Pringle 5, Pinto 2, Ahanmisi 2.

Quarterscores: 21-18, 43-42, 75-69, 94-91.

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