November 24 ------ San Miguel gave its two stars the welcome they deserve, crushing an all-Filipino Terrafirma by way of a 131-103 result to improve its positioning in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Beermen got going late in the first quarter before turning the match into a one-sided affair in their favor, eventually giving June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo a triumphant return while also hiking their record to 5-5. Winners of two straight, the perennial contenders have now gone up to sixth in the standings, and could improve further should they win their last two games of the elimination round against MVP teams TNT and Meralco.
All hands were on deck in the win, with Jericho Cruz leading the way with 25 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from deep in 22 minutes off the bench. Devon Scott tallied 21 points, 19 rebounds, and 11 assists to become the first SMB import to notch a triple-double since 2018, and the third reinforcement to do so this conference after Cameron Krutwig and Justin Brownlee. Fajardo hardly missed a beat with 20 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Vic Manuel and CJ Perez had 19 and 12 markers, respectively.
San Miguel beat a Terrafirma side that was without Lester Prosper, who had to be sent home as he’s placed under health and safety protocols. Out as well was Alex Cabagnot, who came clad in street clothes. “We didn’t think that they weren’t import-less,” said lead assistant Jorge Gallent as he took over for the meantime for head coach Leo Austria, who is still out as he remains under health and safety protocols as well. “So from the tip-off, we talked to one another and said we that we have to play 48 minutes of basketball,” added the veteran mentor.
Leading the Dyip were Juami Tiongson with 28 points, and also Javi Gomez de Liano who finished with 17 markers spiked by three treys. Terrafirma fell to 1-10 and will look to finish its conference strongly against Phoenix Super LPG this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. also at Philsports, the opener to the twin bill that also features SMB’s clash with the Tropang Giga at 6:30.
San Miguel 131– Cruz 25, Scott 21, Fajardo 20, Manuel 19, Perez 12, Zamar 8, Enciso 5, Herndon 5, Ross 4, Brondial 4, Faundo 2, Lassiter 1.
Terrafirma 103 – Tiongson 28, Gomez de Liano 17, Mina 15, Ramos 8, Munzon 8, Camson 7, Javelona 6, Gabayni 5, Alolino 4, Balagasay 3, Grospe 2, Cahilig 0.
Quarterscores: 29-19, 63-38, 96-67, 131-103
In the first game, Bay Area Dragons won over TNT Tropang Giga 140-108 and accomplished its goal of securing a Top Two finish. Currently the no. 1 seed with a 10-2 record, the Dragons were led by Myles Powell with 37 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and a steal, Kobey Lam contributed 30 points and 6 boards, Zhu Songwei produced 22 points with 6 caroms and 6 dimes, while Zheng Qilong submitted 16 off the bench. Veteran big man Duncan Reid added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Tropang Giga falls to a 4-7 record and is in 10th place and is on the brink of missing the playoffs for first time in four years.