San Miguel hit on all cylinders and obliterated hard-luck TNT in a wire-to-wire 116-90 victory to level their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Sunday, October 10.
Mo Tautuaa dropped 19 of his 25 points in a spectacular first half that saw the Beermen go into the break with a sizable 25-point lead as they knotted the best-of-seven affair at 2-2.
Up 26-14 after the maiden quarter, San Miguel opened the floodgates with a 24-7 run highlighted by four triples from Arwind Santos and Terrence Romeo to seize a 50-21 advantage in the middle of the second period.
It did not help the Tropang Giga that foul trouble hobbled their frontline, with Troy Rosario picking up four fouls and Poy Erram committing three fouls even before halftime.
The balance further tipped in favor of the Beermen as Erram left the game with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter after hurting his head during a battle for the loose ball.
Diving for the ball, Erram slammed his head on the hardcourt after an outbalanced Tautuaa fell on top of it.
San Miguel cruised in the second half and stretched its lead to as many as 37 points, 81-44, in the third quarter as six more of its players scored in double figures.
Romeo backstopped Tautuaa – who also chalked up 9 rebounds – with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, while June Mar Fajardo chimed in 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Marcio Lassiter had 13 points, Alex Cabagnot added 12 points, Santos contributed 11 points, and CJ Perez put up 10 points in the win.
Also playing a key role, Chris Ross churned out all-around numbers of 7 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals for the Beermen.
While San Miguel came out with guns blazing on offense, TNT ran dry on its attack, with Roger Pogoy – who averaged 23.3 points in the first three games of the series – delivering only 2 points on a dismal 1-of-10 shooting.
Jayson Castro led the Tropang Giga with 15 points and 4 assists.
San Miguel 116 – Tautuaa 25, Romeo 16, Lassiter 13, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Santos 11, Perez 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 4, Zamar 3, Gamalinda 2, Gotladera 0.
TNT 90 – Castro 15, Khobuntin 13, M. Williams 11, Rosario 10, Exciminiano 8, Mendoza 6, Heruela 5, Montalbo 4, Alejandro 4, Javier 4, Erram 3, Marcelo 3, Pogoy 2, Reyes 2.
Quarters: 26-14, 57-32, 91-61, 116-90.
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.