SMB bags first semis seat after ousting TNT

Junemar Fajardo was unstoppable inside. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--San Miguel clinched the first berth in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after eliminating TNT, 10-9, in their quarterfinal match-up at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday night.

Needing only one win to enter the next round as a reward for ending the elimination round at the Top 2, the Beermen finally broke loose late in the fourth quarter just when the KaTropa made things interesting earlier in the second half.

Ahead, 52-44, by halftime, SMB saw TNT pouring it on in the third quarter, even taking a 70-67 advantage with 3:20 to go in the period.

The Beermen ended the quarter on a 10-2 run to go up, 77-72, but the KaTropa remained in pace with the KaTropa for most of the fourth quarter.

SMB ended the game on a 16-5 run to pull away for good.

Junemar Fajardo dominated for the Beermen, who will await the winner of the Barangay Ginebra-Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters series in the semis, with 35 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and two blocks.

Arwind Santos, on the other hand, came close to a rare five-by-five with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, and four blocks.

Marcio Lassiter added 20 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario each chipped in 19 markers for the KaTropa.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 106-Fajardo 35, Lassiter 20, Santos 15, Ross 13, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 5, Rosser 4, De Ocampo 3, Pessumal 2, Espinas 1

TNT 93-Castro 19, Rosario 19, Pogoy 17, Semerad 16, Williams 15, Cruz 3, Torres 2, Garcia 2, Tautuaa 0, Paredes 0, Carey 0, Reyes 0

Quarterscores: 31-23, 52-44, 77-72, 106-93

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