MANILA, Philippines–San Miguel kept things together when it mattered most on Friday night to pull out a gutsy 87-81 victory over Magnolia and stay perfect in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Beermen turned to their depth and then used a steely endgame to fend off the Timplado’s challenge and notch a third-straight win in the young conference.
Mo Tautuaa put up 19 points and five rebounds while CJ Perez 15 and 12 spiked with a pair of blocks to lead the club’s gallant stand marred by the early exits of the club’s two stars.
Vic Manuel and Chris Ross sustained injuries that prompted their pullout from the tightly-contested affair at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
“Even though we didn’t have Chris and Vic, we were able to survive a very cohesive and energetic team,” said coach Leo Austria.
June Mar Fajardo chipped in 14 points, 10 of which in the payoff period that ultimately doomed Magnolia to its third loss in four games. Three more Beermen finished in double-digit scores.
The Timplados got the goods from Mark Barroca, who finished 25 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Ian Sangalang added 16 while Adrian Wong 11 in the losing effort which should prompt some adjustments from the 2021 Philippine Cup finalists.
“In the past few years, we never had (a start like) 3-0. Sometimes, we barely even made it to the quarterfinals. Fortunately, we were always able to recover in those times. Tonight, I just hope that our injuries recover right away,” he added.
The Beermen were also missing spitfire guard Terrence Romeo, who is sidelined indefinitely by a back injury.
San Miguel hopes to sustain its hot start when it goes up against another heavyweight in 2-0 Barangay Ginebra. The corporate siblings tangle a week from now also at the hilltop arena.
Magnolia, meanwhile, hopes to wiggle itself out of a bind when it plays the Gin Kings this Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
San Miguel Beer 87 – Tautuaa 19, Perez 15, Fajardo 14, Brondial 10, Lassiter 10, Cruz 10, Ross 6, Enciso 2, Manuel 1, Pessumal 0.
Magnolia 81 – Barroca 25, Sangalang 16, Wong 11, Dionisio 8, Dela Rosa 5, Abueva 4, Jalalon 5, Corpuz 3, Laput 2, Ahanmisi 2, Brill 0, Zaldivar 0, Escoto 0.
Quarterscores: 22-25, 35-42, 60-63, 87-81.
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