PBA Philippine Cup

‘8-0 is nothing’: San Miguel on its toes as perfect run continues

Delfin Dioquino

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‘8-0 is nothing’: San Miguel on its toes as perfect run continues

EVADE. CJ Perez in action for the San Miguel Beermen in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

San Miguel improves to 8-0 in the PBA Philippine Cup after holding off Magnolia, but that feat also comes with imminent danger considering the last team to win as many games without a loss fell short of the crown

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel looks every bit the favorite to win it all in the PBA Philippine Cup, becoming the first team in a decade to go 8-0.

But that feat also comes with imminent danger, considering the last team to win as many games without a loss – the TNT Tropang Texters in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup – fell short of the championship.

That TNT squad actually went 13-0, sweeping all of its games from the elimination round to the semifinals before it bowed to the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in the finals.

In fact, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, the last four teams which went unbeaten through their first seven games of the conference failed to win the title.

And the reality that opposing teams are hell-bent on tarnishing their spotless record is not lost on the Beermen.

“For sure, the target is on us. 8-0 is nothing. We need to sustain the things we do in practice and in games,” said San Miguel star CJ Perez after their 98-91 win over Magnolia at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, April 26.

Perez has been showing that he is wary of complacency as he continues to deliver quality performances day in and day out, torching the Hotshots to the tune of a game-high 25 points on top of 5 assists and 2 steals.

It marked the fourth straight game Perez scored at least 25 points as he conspired with Chris Ross in the fourth quarter to help the Beermen keep Magnolia at bay.

Perez and Ross scattered 11 and 9 points, respectively, in the fourth period, with the two knocking down back-to-back three-pointers in the final 1:05 minutes that pushed a slim 92-89 lead to a commanding 98-89 cushion.

“I just want to be consistent every game. It does not matter which team we’re up against, I always want to give my best,” said Perez.

Ross finished with 15 points off a 5-of-10 clip from beyond the arc, Marcio Lassiter added 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Mo Tautuaa put up 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Seven-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo chimed in 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in the win that allowed San Miguel to inch closer to its goal of securing a top-two finish that merits a win-once bonus in the quarterfinals.

Beermen guard Jericho Cruz also netted 9 points with 4 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence caused by a heel injury.

Paul Lee churned out 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals, but his finest game of the conference went down the drain as the Hotshots ran out of gas in their comeback from a 20-point deficit.

Magnolia got buried 14-34 early in the second quarter before it slowly clawed its way back into the game, pulling within 89-92 off a pair of Lee free throws with 1:25 minutes remaining.

But the Hotshots’ hopes were dashed when Ross and Perez each sank a triple as they saw their four-game winning streak halted and fell to 5-3.

Aris Dionisio tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort.

The Scores

San Miguel 98 – Perez 25, Ross 15, Lassiter 12, Tautuaa 10, Fajardo 9, Brondial 9, Cruz 9, Romeo 6, Trollano 3, Manuel 0.

Magnolia 91– Lee 23, Dionisio 22, Sangalang 17, Mendoza 8, Barroca 9, Laput 6, Tratter 5,Dela Rosa 1, Escoto 0, Balanza 0, Eriobu 0, Abueva 0.

Quarters: 24-11, 51-40, 70-64, 98-91.

– 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.