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SMB evens up Finals vs TNT with blowout

By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY--San Miguel Beer made sure Friday night that Josh Smith or any other TNT KaTropa player would not spring another surprise.

Charles Rhodes had a quiet night but the SMB locals put things together as the Beermen throttled to a 102-88 rout of the TNT KaTropa in Game Two of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Taking into heart their 102-104 loss in Game One, the SMB ace locals came back with vengeance in their eyes and pummelled the Ka Tropa badly in the second quarter and onwards.

June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter starred as San Miguel tied the best-of-seven championship series at 1-1.

Game Three is set at 6:30 p.m. Sunday also at the Big Dome.

The only surprise the Ka Tropa pulled off in the game was a hot 17-0 start by Jason Castro, RR Pogoy, Anthony Semerad, Kelly Williams and Moala Tautuaa.

The Ka Tropa, however, were stopped on their tracks no sooner, and the Beermen seized command, 52-43, at the half.

Fajardo came through with a double-double game with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Ross had his own near double-double effort with 20 markers and nine assists plus five rebounds.

Santos, meanwhile, was a key spark off the bench, getting away with 16 points and six rebounds.

Rhodes struggled for just seven points and 11 rebounds while Smith had 11 markers, six rebounds and five assists for TNT.

The Beermen missed their first six attempts and turned the ball over thrice before scoring a first basket courtesy of Cabagnot with already four minutes into the game.

Santos provided the wake-up call as he subbed for Charles Rhodes, scoring 11 points on 3-of-3 field goals and 2-of-2 charities as the Beermen chopped an early 17-point deficit down to eight, 24-32, at the end of the opening quarter.

The SMB coach sat out Rhodes early after committing three errors and missing three shots in the initial salvo of the contest.

And still largely through the effort of their locals, the Beermen roared on in the second period and surged ahead, 52-43, at the half.

After an early explosion of six three-pointers on a high 50-percent clip, the Ka Tropa went silent in the second period, making only 1-of-7 treys and 3-of-10 twinners.

The Beermen sustained a thorough beating of the Ka Tropa in the final half.

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