PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Free-throw woes aside, San Miguel survives Magnolia in PBA final opener

Delfin Dioquino

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Free-throw woes aside, San Miguel survives Magnolia in PBA final opener

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

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San Miguel needs to fine-tune its free throw shooting as it nearly blows a 20-point lead before escaping Magnolia to draw first blood in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – The acclaimed San Miguel offense proved just as good as advertised even against the best defense in the PBA.

But the Beermen need to fine-tune their free throw shooting as they narrowly escaped Magnolia, 103-95, to draw first blood in the Commissioner’s Cup finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, February 2.

Up by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, San Miguel shot itself in the foot with turnovers and missed foul shots as the Hotshots got within 95-100, but the Beermen held on to post their 10th consecutive win.

San Miguel missed 11 of its 24 free throws in the second half and went 27-of-44 at the line overall for a lowly 61% clip.

“We were missing a lot of free throws, that was the reason why they came back,” said Beermen head coach Jorge Gallent.

Fortunately for Gallent, his wards built a lead big enough to overcome gutsy Magnolia, with import Bennie Boatwright, Marcio Lassiter, and CJ Perez setting the tone.

Boatwright posted 28 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Perez tallied 19 points and 3 steals, while Lassiter put up 16 points and 5 rebounds as they all scored in twin digits in the first half that ended with San Miguel leading 61-44.

The Hotshots trailed 35-38 midway through the second quarter before the Beermen ended the period on a 23-9 run capped by pair of three-pointers from Lassiter and one from Boatwright.

June Mar Fajardo made his presence felt for San Miguel with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, including a foul shot down the stretch that gave the Beermen enough separation.

“The players were composed. They know how to win. Lucky for me,” said Gallent.

Import Tyler Bey paced Magnolia with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and steals.

The Scores

San Miguel 103 – Boatwright 28, Perez 19, Lassiter 16, Fajardo 11, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Romeo 5, Teng 4, Ross 2, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0, Brondial 0.

Magnolia 95 – Bey 26, Barroca 16, Jalalon 8, Sangalang 8, Dionisio 8, Eriobu 7, Abueva 6, Lee 6, Tratter 5, Escoto 3, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, Dela Rosa 0, Reavis 0.

Quarters: 20-24, 61-44, 85-72, 103-95.

– 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.