Unstoppable San Miguel defeats Ginebra and secures a spot in the PBA Finals

Jan 31, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – The Mall of Asia Arena witnessed a thrilling showdown as the San Miguel Beermen emerged victorious over the defending PBA Commissioner’s Cup champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, in a nail-biting Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinal playoff series. The final score of 94-91 not only secured the Beermen’s win but also solidified their place in the upcoming PBA Finals. This hard-fought triumph sets the stage for a tantalizing championship clash against either the Magnolia Hotshots or the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.

The Beermen’s success in this pivotal matchup was spearheaded by the outstanding performance of their import, Bennie Boatwright. Boatwright showcased his prowess by delivering an impressive double-double, contributing 26 points and snatching 13 rebounds. Complementing Boatwright’s stellar showing was local player Jericho Cruz, who played a crucial role with his 17 points, providing much-needed support for the Beermen’s offensive efforts.

Despite facing adversity and trailing for a significant portion of the game, Ginebra managed to stay competitive. The Gin Kings owed much of their resilience to import Tony Bishop, whose remarkable three-point shot narrowed San Miguel’s lead to a mere 3 points at 80-77 early in the fourth quarter. This surge injected renewed energy into Ginebra’s pursuit of a comeback.

However, the Beermen responded with resilience of their own, initiating a pivotal 7-2 run ignited by the combined efforts of Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez. This surge catapulted San Miguel to a comfortable 90-79 lead. Ginebra, unwilling to concede defeat, staged a late-game rally led by the dynamic duo of Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger. The Gin Kings managed to trim the deficit to just 3 points at 92-89 with a mere 39 seconds left on the clock.

The tension in the arena reached its peak as the Gin Kings fought tooth and nail to turn the tide in their favor. However, a critical turnover by Standhardinger proved to be a turning point. This mistake led to a foul on San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo, who capitalized on the opportunity by sinking crucial free throws that effectively sealed the game in favor of the Beermen.

In addition to Boatwright’s standout performance, both CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo made significant contributions with 11 points each for the Beermen. Despite facing defensive pressure and shooting at a modest 38 percent, Tony Bishop led the Gin Kings with an impressive stat line, tallying 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Scottie Thompson also played a pivotal role, adding 17 points to Ginebra’s effort.

The Beermen’s victory in the semifinal series not only propels them to the PBA Finals but also positions them as formidable contenders for yet another championship. As they await the outcome of the Magnolia Hotshots versus Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters series, San Miguel can take pride in their resilience, teamwork, and ability to deliver under pressure. The PBA Finals promise to be a showcase of top-tier basketball, with the Beermen aiming to add another chapter to their storied legacy.

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