SAN Miguel equalized the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup Finals by defeating TNT, 109-100, in Game Two on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
CJ Perez scored 23 points for the Beermen while Vic Manuel stepped up on a night when June Mar Fajardo didn’t get his usual touches, finishing with 20 points for his best offensive effort in the playoffs with his new team.
San Miguel evened the series, 1-1, in the absence of TNT coach Chot Reyes due to his Gilas Pilipinas commitment. SMB's defense also held Mikey Williams to only seven points after he figured in an injury scare early in the contest.
The Beermen once again built a lead as high as 15, but in contrast to Game One, they were able to protect it until the final buzzer.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa Diyos na nanalo kami dahil kapag na-2-0 kami, mahirap na makabawi,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanila na lagi kaming lamang kapag third quarter pero nagre-relax kami, nawawala ‘yung killer instinct. Mabuti na lang ngayon, ‘yung pride nila as a player, nasundot ng konti dahil from start to finish, very close pero hindi sila bumitaw.”
Six players scored in double figures for San Miguel with Marcio Lassiter also scoring 19 points including nine in the fourth quarter. Fajardo added 13 points on 5-of-6 from the field. Chris Ross also had a big night as the facilitator, dishing out 10 assists.
Manuel hit a pair of baskets in a 9-0 blast to start the fourth that enabled San Miguel to grab a 91-79 lead. Back-to-back hits by Manuel got San Miguel to 107-92, the biggest lead of the game.
Roger Pogoy had 28 points, two more than his output in Game One. Jayson Castro, the hero of the finals series opener with his buzzer-beater, added 15 points.
A cause of concern though is the health situation of Williams, who was in pain in the 7:31-mark of the first period after Simon Enciso landed on his left knee in a collisison. He struggled offensively as he only made 3 of his 10 shots.
San Miguel 109 – Perez 23, Manuel 20, Lassiter 19, Fajardo 13, Cruz 12, Tautuaa 11, Brondial 7, Ross 4, Enciso 0, Zamar 0.
TNT 100 – Pogoy 28, Castro 15, Montalbo 14, Rosario 11, K. Williams 10, M. Williams 7, Erram 7, Reyes 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Khobuntin 2, Marcelo 0.
Quarters: 30-28; 51-51; 82-79; 109-100.