San Miguel emerged victorious against a determined Blackwater side, securing a 125-117 win and clinching a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.
Bennie Boatwright continued his impressive performance by scoring 44 points highlighted by 8-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc. His contribution proved crucial in overcoming the final obstacle in their quest for a Top 4 finish.
In addition, the team celebrated the return of June Mar Fajardo, who had been sidelined for six weeks due to a fractured left hand. The 7-time league MVP showcased his versatility with 11 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
The league’s winningest franchise finished the eliminations on a 5-game winning streak and an 8-3 record.
“This is our first ladder. Our first goal was to get into the Top 4 for the twice-to-beat advantage. And we did that,” said SMB head coach Jorge Gallent during the post-game presser.
“So now we have to work on our quarterfinal stint. As of now we don’t know who we will play. We have to prepare against the team that we’re gonna play in the quarterfinals. So this five-game winning streak is out already. This is ladder one, so we’re going to ladder two now.”
The Beermen held a commanding 17-point advantage at one point, the Bossing, however, made a strong comeback in the final frame thanks to the hot shooting of Chris Ortiz. The Jeffrey Cariaso-mentored squad managed to narrow the gap to just one point, 107-106, with still 6:21 left on the game clock.
San Miguel refused to buckle down and kept Blackwater at bay with a 7-0 blast, thanks to the combined efforts of Fajardo, Chris Ross and Don Trollano.