San Miguel outlasted Rain or Shine to secure a 127-122 victory and advance to the semifinals of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.
The Beermen had a strong 42-point third quarter, which allowed them to build a lead of up to 22 points. This was enough of a buffer against the Elasto Painters’ late comeback attempt.
SMB clinched the twice-to-beat advantage and is now awaiting the winner of the quarterfinal pairing between Brgy. Ginebra and NorthPort to determine its opponent in the best-of-five semis.
Coach Jorge Gallent credited his team’s offensive adjustment for their success, as they turned a tied game at halftime into a 109-89 lead entering the final quarter.
“We just had to pass the ball and rely on our open shooters,” said Gallent during the post-game press conference.
“In the first half Rain or Shine was clogging the lane and we were forcing ourselves for layups. In the second half we just learned how to kick out the ball and Jericho (Cruz) and the (other) guards did well in shooting those 3s,” added Gallent. “So great team offense.”
Bennie Boatwright scored 41 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Cruz contributed with 20 points, 11 of them in the second half.
Terrence Romeo scattered 13 of his 15 points in the second half, while veteran guard Chris Ross finished with 14 points. June Mar Fajardo added a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds to go with five assists.