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    San Miguel unleashes full might in Game One rout of weary Meralco

    5 days ago
    CJ Perez
    SMB's June Mar Fajardo powers his way for two points against a Meralco double-team.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    CJ PEREZ took over early and led San Miguel to a blowout 121-97 win over Meralco on Wednesday in Game One of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Perez scored 10 of his 25 points in the first period as the Beermen opened a big lead in the first quarter in a lopsided start to a best-of-seven playoff against a Meralco side coming off a hard-earned quarterfinal win over Barangay Ginebra.

    San Miguel dominated the paint with Rodney Brondial finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Vic Manuel tallying 16 points in the victory.

    SMB's June Mar Fajardo powers his way for two points against a Meralco double-team.

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    SMB coach Leo Austria was pleasantly surprised with how the team dominated Meralco, which had a 9-4 record against the Beermen entering the contest.

    “Talagang na-surprise kami sa performance ng mga players dahil alam naman natin na pagka-Meralco, maraming beses kaming pinahiya nila,” said Austria. “Hindi ko alam na ganun sila ka-motivated.”

    [See Alfrancis Chua will be a hands-on Gilas advisor]

    San Miguel closed the first period on an 11-0 run to grab a 33-17 advantage which it maintained the entire contest.

    The Beermen led, 84-60, but needed June Mar Fajardo to step up in the fourth quarter after the Bolts came within 14 in the game. Fajardo had 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the win.

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    Chris Banchero scored 17 points while Raymond Almazan added 16 but Meralco never led in the game. Raymar Jose also had 12 points, but the triumvirate of Chris Newsome, Aaron Black, and Allein Maliksi combined for only 19 points.

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    Game Two is set on Friday at the Big Dome.

    The scores:

    San Miguel 121 – Perez 25, Brondial 20, Manuel 16, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 10, Cruz 9, Enciso 8, Tautuaa 8, Herndon 7, Pessumal 5, Ross 2.

    Meralco 97 – Banchero 17, Almazan 16, Jose 12, Hodge 11, Newsome 9, Quinto 9, Pascual 9, Black 8, Caram 4, Maliksi 2, Belo 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0.

    Quarters: 33-17; 60-41; 85-64; 121-97.

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    SMB's June Mar Fajardo powers his way for two points against a Meralco double-team.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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