TERRENCE Romeo finished what the San Miguel starting five started as it once again stumped Magnolia, 113-92, on Sunday night in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The three-time league scoring champion looked every bit like his old self as he scattered a season-high 23 points, three assists, and two steals in what was easily his finest game in a San Miguel uniform.
June Mar Fajardo dropped eight of his 22 points in the first quarter as SMB jumped to a 16-2 lead that further swelled to 23 points, 37-14 in the early goings of the second frame. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists to make up for his seven turnovers.
Arwind Santos was also blazing from beyond the arc, making seven triples from his 11 attempts. He finished with 29 points alongside four boards and two assists as the Beermen won for the fourth time in seven games.
The 2013 PBA MVP's scorching night was the difference maker as the Beermen went 18-of-34 from rainbow country in contrast to just 6-of-32 for the Hotshots.
It was the first time the two sister teams fought in the all-Filipino conference since San Miguel beat Magnolia in five games in the 2018 finals.
"Tonight's game, that's the game of the players. They really focused on this game because they know that Magnolia is a championship team also and everybody responded," said SMB coach Leo Austria.
The win also revived the Beermen's aspirations for a top-two finish despite them carrying a 4-3 win-loss record with four games remaining in the eliminations.
"Alam nila na our backs are against the wall because it's hard to be 3-4 with four games remaining. With this win, we still have a chance to make it to the top two," said Austria.
It was also a historic night for Alex Cabagnot, whose four assists tied him with Philip Cezar for eighth in the league's all-time assists list with 3,130 dimes, while his three steals moved him into the league's Top 10 all-time with 675. He also scored 11 in the win.
Magnolia slid to its second straight defeat to remain at the bottom of the standings at 0-2.
Ian Sangalang powered the Hotshots with 19 points, five rebounds, and four steals, while Paul Lee got 16 points, five boards, and three assists.
SAN MIGUEL 113 -- Santos 29, Romeo 23, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 9, Ross 6, Nabong 3, Tubid 3, Pessumal 3, Mamaril 2, Zamar 2, De Ocampo 0, Vigil 0, Lanete 0.
MAGNOLIA 92 -- Sangalang 19, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 14, Brondial 12, Jalalon 11, Pascual 8, Simon 4, Calisaan 4, Abundo 2, Gamalinda 2, Barroca 0, Reavis 0, Herndon 0, Melton 0.
Quarters: 28-12, 51-42, 82-69, 113-92.