San Miguel Knocks TNT Grabs PBA Lead

Jul 9, 2022

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San Miguel notches fourth straight win.

The San Miguel Beermen extended their winning streak to four games and formally secured a ticket to the quarterfinals with a 115-99 demolition of the TNT Tropang Giga in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, July 7.

Six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo imposed his will on both ends and recorded a monster double-double of 30 points and 16 rebounds, while Jericho Cruz also exploded for 30 markers for the Beermen, who grabbed the solo No. 1 spot with a 7-1 slate.

Simon Enciso, meanwhile, stepped up in the absence of San Miguel guards Chris Ross and Terrence Romeo, connecting on four of his seven three-pointers to finish with 16 points.

With the Beermen leading by only 6 points, 73-67, with 2:49 remaining in the third period, Cruz took over and unleashed a personal 8-2 run to put San Miguel up by 13, 82-69, with a minute left in the quarter.

The rest of the Beermen then followed suit and never looked backed in the fourth and final frame as they even pushed their lead to as many as 19 points, 107-88, which proved too big for the Tropang Giga to conquer in the endgame.

Like Fajardo, CJ Perez and Rodney Brondial also tallied double-doubles for San Miguel, with the former finishing with 12 points and 10 assists, while the latter tallying 12 markers and 18 boards.

On the other side, Kelly Williams top scored for TNT with 20 points, while Jayson Castro had 17.

San Miguel’s stifling defense limited TNT’s high-scoring guard Mikey Williams to just 11 points on a dismal 3-of-14 clip from the field as the Tropang Giga saw their five-game winning streak come to an end, dropping down to 7-3 in the standings.

Cruz later got involved in a heated exchange with RR Pogoy

Jericho Cruz played down the heated exchange he had with RR Pogoy that marred the fourth Quarter of the game. 

Cruz scored a career-high 30 points in San Miguel’s win over TNT, 115-99, but he was also slapped with a technical foul for the spat with Pogoy.

The incident began when Pogoy committed a hard foul on Cruz while trying to defend his former TNT teammate a couple of years ago at the 4:09 mark.

Cruz, who had a forgettable stay at TNT that saw him be mothballed before he was traded to NLEX, confronted Pogoy before both players were separated by teammates.

Prior to the Pogoy hit, Cruz sent TNT big man Poy Erram to the floor with an elbow to the abdomen while trying to fight a pick.

Still, Cruz said the incident was not a big deal as it is part of the game.

“Konting lambingan lang ‘yun sa court,” said Cruz, who joined SMB last season as a free agent. “Baka na-miss lang niya ako. Iba ‘yung pagmamahal niya eh.”

Cruz said he and Pogoy approached each other during the traditional shaking of hands between the two teams without any fuss.

While he reacted to the hard foul by confronting Pogoy, Cruz said he will leave the incident on the court.

“Okay naman sa akin. Wala naman sa akin ‘yun. Sabi nga nila, kung marunong ka mag-hit, dapat marunong ka rin mag-take,” he said. “Wala sa akin ‘yun. It’s just part of the game. Pag sa labas, we are friends naman.”

The Scores:

  • 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.

Quarters: 26-22; 53-47; 83-71; 115-99.

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