WATCH: Post-game interview with CJ Perez and Coach Leo Austria [Sept. 30, 2021]
San Miguel had no need for a clutch game-winner to hurdle NorthPort Thursday in their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals duel.
A workman-like effort did the trick for the Beermen this time as they carved out a 100-95 victory that completed their two-game sweep of the series and sealed their place in the semifinals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
CJ Perez continued to make waves in his first-ever playoffs by pouring in 21 points while Mo Tautuaa, Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos did their part as SMB followed up its 88-87 squeaker in the best-of-three opener last Sunday.
Next up for the Beermen in the best-of-seven semis are the TNT Tropang Giga, who made it first by making short work of last year’s champion Barangay Ginebra.
The win also helped erase SMB’s bitter memories of last year, when it didn’t even make it past the quarterfinals and thus relinquished the crown it has held on to for five straight years.
SMB coach Leo Austria said the score may not be as close as in the opener, but just as hard to come by. “We all know it will not be an easy game because it was a do-or-die for Northport. We consider NorthPort as a strong team,” he stated.
“That’s why before the game I asked the team to take this game seriously because their (Batang Pier) backs are against the wall and we want to get to the semis right away. We cannot know what will happen if there ever was a third game.”
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