The San Miguel Beermen came back strong against a tough two-point loss to Rain or Shine, and embarrassed the Phoenix Fuel Masters with a 110-80 rout at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday, September 17.
With the win, the former five-time reigning Philippine Cup champions booked their playoff ticket with a 6-3 record, while ninth-place Phoenix dropped to the brink of elimination with a 4-7 slate.
Super sub CJ Perez had his best game yet as a Beerman with a game-high 24 points off the bench on 7-of-14 shooting while fellow former top pick Mo Tautuaa added 19 markers off the pine as well on a 7-of-13 clip.
Off a manageable 8-point deficit heading to halftime, 47-55, Phoenix quickly ran out of offensive gas in the third quarter as San Miguel mounted a huge 24-7 attack for the 25-point lead, 79-54, with 4:43 still left in the frame.
To make matters worse, new Phoenix acquisition Vic Manuel suffered what looked like a non-contact groin strain at the 3:49 mark, which just drained the life out of his teammates even further.
It was all San Miguel from that point onwards as the Beermen peaked with a 37-point gap, 107-70, off a Tautuaa triple with 4:04 left in regulation.
Six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo made the most of his 21-minute run on the floor with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while super scorer Terrence Romeo was just held to 3 points in 10 first-quarter minutes due to an apparent injury.
“I told them we had to bounce back, and as you can see, we did bounce back tonight,” said head coach Leo Austria in the postgame presser. “But I was not expecting this kind of outcome. I’m really surprised. But of course, I give credit to the players.”
Jason Perkins led the Fuel Masters anew in the sorry loss with 18 points and 9 rebounds on 8-of-17 shooting while Matthew Wright tried to make up for his low 10-point outing with 10 assists and 8 boards.
As Phoenix wraps up its elimination round with a blowout loss, San Miguel meanwhile, will try to end the game week on a high note with a win against sister team Magnolia Hotshots on Sunday, September 19, 4:35 pm.
San Miguel 110 – Perez 24, Tautuaa 19, Fajardo 18, Santos 16, Ross 9, Lassiter 8, Pessumal 5, Zamar 5, Romeo 3, Sena 3, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0, Gamalinda 0.
Phoenix 80 – Perkins 18, Banchero 13, Muyang 12, Garcia 11, Wright 10, Manuel 8, Chua 6, Jazul 2, Calisaan 0, Pascual 0, Melecio 0, Demusis 0, Tamsi 0, Rios 0.
Quarters: 24-21, 55-47, 85-59, 110-80.