PBA Commissioner’s Cup

San Miguel escapes for back-to-back wins as late turnovers doom TNT

Delfin Dioquino

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San Miguel escapes for back-to-back wins as late turnovers doom TNT

WELL-GUARDED. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in action for the TNT Tropang Giga in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Ivan Aska and Jericho Cruz provide the big hits in the endgame for San Miguel, which posts its second straight win and fifth overall in eight games

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel leaned on a strong finish anchored by Ivan Aska and Jericho Cruz to turn back TNT in a 98-93 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Pasig on Sunday, December 17.

Aska and Cruz combined for 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Beermen fought back from a 10-point deficit to post their second straight win and fifth overall in eight games.

The Tropang Giga still held an eight-point, 77-69 advantage early in the final salvo before they fell apart, with San Miguel outscoring them 29-18 in the period.

Aska finished with 29 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, while CJ Perez produced 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Perez also came up clutch, draining the fadeaway jumper that pulled the Beermen ahead at 94-93 with under two minutes left and coming up with a crucial steal that denied TNT a shot at the equalizer.

Down 96-93, the Tropang Giga saw Perez tip away an inbound pass by Kib Montalbo before Cruz sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.

Just like his endgame heroics in their 95-82 win over Barangay Ginebra last Friday, Cruz saved the best for last as he scattered 7 of his 9 points in the fourth quarter, while Terrence Romeo chalked up 14 points and 3 assists.

Mo Tautuaa added 9 points and 7 rebounds in the win.

TNT star import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got limited to 26 points on an 8-of-26 shooting after exploding for 42 points in their 105-96 victory over Blackwater last Friday.

Although Hollis-Jefferson made up for his shooting struggles with 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, the Tropang Giga shot themselves in the foot with crucial turnovers and missed three-pointers inside the last minute.

A turnover by Hollis-Jefferson allowed Aska to extend the lead for San Miguel to 96-93 and Montalbo turned the ball over in the following play.

Calvin Oftana put up 27 points and 13 rebounds for TNT, which fell to an even 4-4.

The Scores

San Miguel 98 – Aska 25, Perez 20, Romeo 14, Tautuaa 9, Cruz 9, Lassiter 6, Brondial 6, Ross 5, Trollano 4.

TNT 93 – Oftana 27, Hollis-Jefferson 26, Castro 12, Khobuntin 11, Montalbo 7, Ponferrada 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Reyes 0, Tungcab 0, Galinato 0, Aurin 0.

Quarters: 22-29, 45-52, 69-75, 98-93.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.