SAN Miguel moved on the cusp of another finals appearance in the PBA Philippine Cup after trouncing Phoenix Pulse, 114-91, in Game Four to take a 3-1 series lead in the semifinals at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday.
Terrence Romeo had 20 points in an impressive shooting display, hitting six triples in Game Five as the Beermen are only one win away from their fifth straight finals appearance in the Philippine Cup.
The game, however, will perhaps be remembered more from the physicality rather than the play on the court.
Game Five became an emotionally-charged match after what appeared to be a nudge by Alex Cabagnot over RJ Jazul led to a near brawl with 2:22 left in the second quarter. Alex Mallari was ejected following the incident for two successive technical fouls following an altercation with Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.
Jaypee Mendoza also joined Mallari after he was also thrown out in the third quarter for using profane language in a verbal altercation with Chris Ross.
In total, eight technical fouls were called in the match, the highest so far this season.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria noted the good start by the Beermen which allowed them to take a 59-48 halftime lead.
“Finally, we have a good start out of this four games. I think that’s what we need, to have a good start. We were able to dictate the tempo of the game,” Austria said.
Austria also lauded how the Beermen responded to the Fuel Masters’ physicality.
“Although it was really physical. Our players will not back down. They are very smart. There were a lot of technical fouls but fortunately, we were not able to give up free throws from our opponent,” said Austria.
Cabagnot had 18 points, while Arwind Santos regained his shooting touch after finishing with 16 points for the Beermen, who led by as many 30 points in the game.
Romeo helped the Beermen pull away from the Fuel Masters after scoring 17 points in the third quarter, including four three-point conversions.
Calvin Abueva was the only double-digit scorer for Phoenix Pulse after finishing with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
San Miguel 114 – Romeo 20, Cabagnot 18, Santos 16, Ross 10, Pessumal 10, Standhardinger 9, Fajardo 9, Rosser 8, Nabong 7, Zamar 5, Vigil 2, Lassiter 0, Mamaril 0, Tubid 0.
Phoenix 91 – Abueva 19, Jazul 9, Marcelo 9, Perkins 8, Chua 8, Kramer 7, Intal 7, Napoles 7, Wright 6, Mendoza 4, Mallari 3, Revilla 2, Dennison 2, Guevarra 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 59-48, 89-63, 114-91.