PBA Commissioner’s Cup

‘New journey’: San Miguel bounces back in semis rematch vs Ginebra

Delfin Dioquino

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‘New journey’: San Miguel bounces back in semis rematch vs Ginebra

ATTACK. CJ Perez in action for the San Miguel Beermen in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Having learned its lesson the hard way after a bitter end last season, San Miguel conquers Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel did not come this far just to be swept again by Barangay Ginebra.

Having learned their lesson the hard way after a bitter end last season, the Beermen conquered the Gin Kings, 92-90, in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, January 24.

CJ Perez delivered the big hits down the stretch and finished with a game-high 26 points as San Miguel redeemed itself after a 3-0 shutout loss to Ginebra in the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup last year.

“We were swept last season but we moved forward,” said Perez in Filipino. “This is a new journey for us. We have a big chance of returning to the finals.”

Perez shone late as he scattered 9 points in the fourth quarter, all coming in a pivotal 17-6 run that turned a 73-79 deficit to a 90-85 lead with under 2:40 minutes remaining.

The Gin Kings, though, refused to go away and uncorked a 5-0 blitz capped by a Tony Bishop basket to knot the score at 90-90.

A pair of June Mar Fajardo free throws determined the final tally as Ginebra failed to capitalize on its endgame opportunities, with its final crack at either a game-tying shot or a game-winner ending in a sorry turnover.

“We know Ginebra. They will not stop until the last buzzer. We need to respect our opponents,” said Perez, who also recorded 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Despite seeing his streak of 40-point performances snapped, import Bennie Boatwright still made his presence felt with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks as the Beermen scored their seventh straight win.

Fajardo tallied 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Don Trollano added 10 points.

San Miguel played without Terrence Romeo due to a left ankle sprain, although it clings on to the hope that the star guard will be available on Friday, January 26, as it shoots for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five affair at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Bishop had 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Christian Standhardinger churned out 21 points and 11 rebounds in the loss that halted the Gin Kings’ five-game winning streak.

Former league MVP Scottie Thompson posted a near triple-double of 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists for Ginebra.

The Scores

San Miguel 92 – Perez 26, Boatwright 23, Fajardo 18, Trollano 10, Lassiter 7, Cruz 6, Teng 2, Ross 0, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0.

Barangay Ginebra 90 – Standhardinger 21, Bishop 20, Thompson 15, Malonzo 11, Pringle 9, Ahanmisi 6, J.Aguilar 6, Tenorio 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 28-20, 47-47, 73-73, 92-90.

– 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.