By Adrian Stewart Co
San Miguel Beermen made a return to the semifinals after a 100-95 beating of NorthPort Batang Pier in Game 2 of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Jaymar Perez top-scored with 21 points, while Moala Tautuaa added 17 markers as the Beermen sets up a best-of-seven semifinals encounter with the TNT Tropang Giga.
Marcio Lassiter and June Mar Fajardo tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and returning Terrence Romeo ended up with 11 points each for SMB.
“We all know that it will not be an easy game so I asked our players to take this game seriously,” said Beermen Leo Austria. “We want to make the semis outright and wanted to avoid a do-or-die game with NorthPort.”
The Beermen fumbled with their shots early before gaining control in the second period on attacks by Perez and inside conversions from Fajardo for a 46-39 halftime lead over the Batang Pier.
The Beermen went on with its rampage in the third period as it built a 13-point edge after a triple by Romeo but the Batang Pier rallied back to within 91-96 on a Gregory Slaughter hit.
NorthPort pulled even closer at 93-97 with another Slaughter conversion but free throws by Ross and Lassiter widened San Miguel Beer’s advantage to 100-93 with 20 seconds in the game.
Slaughter finished with double-double 27 points and 12 rebounds, Jamie Malonzo added 17 markers as Sidney Onwubere and Robert Bolick Jr. ended with 14 and 12 as the Batang Pier bows out of the tournament.
Meanwhile, sister-teams Meralco Bolts and NLEX Road Warriors will dispute for a semifinals seat when they clash in a do-or-die quarterfinals game at six in the evening today.
The Road Warriors stretched their series to a winner-take-all game after an 81-80 victory over the Bolts on Wednesday afternoon behind the go-ahead layup of rookie Calvin Oftana.
Meralco needs only to win once in their quarterfinals series with the Road Warriors due to their twice-to-beat incentive for finishing the eliminations at second place.
SAN MIGUEL 100 – Perez 21, Tautuaa 17, Lassiter 15, Fajardo 12, Santos 11, Romeo 11, Ross 11, Cabagnot 2, Pessumal 0.
NORTHPORT 95 – Slaughter 27, Malonzo 17, Onwubere 14, Bolick 12, Taha 9, Balanza 8, Rike 5, Doliguez 3, Ferrer 0, Elorde 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 46-39, 74-66, 100-95./ASC, WDJ