PBA Commissioner’s Cup

San Miguel ties franchise record for longest win streak, inches closer to PBA crown

Delfin Dioquino

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San Miguel ties franchise record for longest win streak, inches closer to PBA crown

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

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Bennie Boatwright, CJ Perez, and June Mar Fajardo form a three-headed monster as San Miguel earns its 11th straight win and a 2-0 lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – A historic run has put San Miguel in prime position for another PBA championship.

The Beermen tied their longest winning streak in franchise history as they inched closer to the Commissioner’s Cup crown after coasting to a 109-85 blowout of Magnolia at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, February 4.

Forming a three-headed monster, import Bennie Boatwright, CJ Perez, and June Mar Fajardo combined for 73 points to power San Miguel to its 11th straight victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven finale.

Another win will see the Beermen eclipse the franchise record they also notched in the 2013 Governors’ Cup and 2017 Philippine Cup.

But San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent is focused on the task at hand.

“We’re not thinking of this special run,” said Gallent. “We’re just thinking that we won two games. The rest is nothing. We’re really focused in this series.”

Boatwright delivered 34 points off seven three-pointers on top of 10 rebounds and 5 assists as he nearly matched his Game 1 tally of 28 points in the first half alone.

A candidate for the Best Import honors, Boatwright erupted for 23 first-half points and allowed the Beermen to grab a 54-41 halftime lead.

That advantage doubled in the third quarter as Perez took over the period and finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 assists.

Perez scattered 8 points in an 18-3 start to the third frame that propelled San Miguel to a commanding 72-44 lead – its biggest of the game.

It was such a one-sided affair that Fajardo – who shot only six three-pointers this conference prior to the game – attempted three triples and made two of them with under two minutes left.

Fajardo tallied 19 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks as the Beermen nailed their most lopsided win of this playoffs after their previous games in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals were decided by an average of 5.6 points.

That could spell trouble for the Hotshots, although Gallent is not looking too far ahead.

“We have two more games to focus on. The sweep is not even in our mind. Our thing is how to get four games before them,” said Gallent.

Marcio Lassiter and Jericho Cruz added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the victory.

While San Miguel thrived offensively, Magnolia struggled to keep up, with only three players scoring in double figures led by import Tyler Bey, who posted 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Mark Barroca (11) and Russel Escoto (10) were the only other Hotshots players in twin-digit scoring as usual suspects Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva failed to leave their mark on the offensive end.

Both turning in poor 1-of-7 clips, Lee and Abueva had only 5 and 3 points, respectively, as Magnolia lost consecutive games for the first time this conference.

The Scores

San Miguel 109 – Boatwright 34, Perez 20, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 11, Cuz 10, Trollano 5, Ross 3, Teng 2, Tautuaa 2, Jimenez 2, Mallilin 1, Romeo 0.

Magnolia 85 – Bey 22, Barroca 11, Escoto 10, Sangalang 8, Jalalon 6, Lee 5, Corpuz 5, Dela Rosa 4, Mendoza 4, Abueva 3, Laput 3, Tratter 2, Eriobu 2, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0.

Quarters: 31-25, 54-41, 79-58, 109-85.

– 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.