Trying to avoid a 1-3 hole, the San Miguel Beermen pulled through in the end to upend TNT Katropa’s late run, 106-101, to tie the Finals series 2-2 on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With a strong showing the third quarter, SMB outscored TNT 31-17 as June Mar Fajardo dominated the interior. He was backed up by Chris McCullough and Alex Cabagnot who notched 27 and 25 markers, respectively.
Terrence Jones continued his rampage by leading the KaTropa to a big run in the final period where they trailed by 15 points. The MVP-backed squad came within two points in the last 40 seconds, but Fajardo’s layup iced the game for good.
FOX Sports Philippines breaks down some key insights from San Miguel in last night’s thrilling contest.
SMB got sloppy in final frame
The Beermen got the W, but they need to work on taking care of the basketball even more especially with what happened last night. They turned the ball over 21 times (compared to TNT’s 14), and it is a big reason as to why they almost squandered their huge lead.
San Miguel’s bigs were the suspects in this facet with Chris McCullough and June Mar Fajardo committing six and five infractions, respectively. With TNT clearly keying on them, they need to do a better job on kicking it out to open teammates whenever they’re double-teamed.
High shooting percentage bailed SMB out
The Beermen posted better shooting numbers across the board in the game. Overall, they shot a solid 49-percent from the field. SMB shot better in two-pointers (52%), three-pointers (40%), and in the charity stripe (89%).
It just goes to show their lethal inside-out attack, especially when June Mar Fajardo is leading the way. The Cebuano big man pumped in 22 points and seven rebounds on 71-percent shooting from the field.
Aside from the usual contributors, Von Pessumal filled in well for the ailing Marcio Lassiter by chipping in 14 points and shooting 57-percent from distance.
Trust goes a long way
Another key to San Miguel’s win is their better ball movement, as they handed out 26 assists in this contest.
With a bevy of capable playmakers in the roster, San Miguel took every chance they can get for them to get going. Chris Ross led the way with eight assists, while Terrence Romeo and Alex Cabagnot dished out five apiece.
(Images from PBA Media Group)