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SMB books semis ticket, topples NorthPort

CJ Perez led seven Beermen in double figures in their series-clinching win over the Batang Pier. PBA Images
By Carl Santiago

MANILA--San Miguel shut the door on Northport in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals through a 100-95 win in Game 2 of their series at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Beermen took over in the second quarter before holding the Batang Pier off in the end to sweep their best-of-three affair and book the second seat in the semifinals.

Both teams started a bit slow, but the Batang Pier gained a little 19-17 edge to end the first period.

Both clubs remained toe-to-toe in the first 10 minutes of the second period, but the Beermen suddenly erupted within the final 2 minutes to open a 46-39 lead at halftime.

The Beermen would extend the lead to double digits to start the third period and stayed persistent, not letting the Batang Pier take over.

Jamie Malonzo, Robert Bolick, Greg Slaughter, and Sidney Onwubere tried to keep the Batang Pier with crucial shots to cut their deficit down to just four, 93-97, with 34 seconds left.

But Chris Ross sank two free throws with 31.5 seconds remaining to give SMB some breathing room as Bolick, who was struggling to score from the outside the entire game, missed a three-pointer that could have brought NorthPort closer, thus sealing the team's fate.

CJ Perez made 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks off the bench to lead the Beermen, who had seven players in double figures scoring-wise.

Mo Tautuaa added 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one steal off the bench as well, while June Mar Fajardo (12 points and 12 rebounds) and Arwind Santos (13 rebounds and 11 points) each collected a double-double.

Slaughter put up 27 points on 12-of-22 field goals, 12 rebounds, and three blocks for the Batang Pier.

Bolick came close to a triple-double with 14 dimes, 12 points for the double-double, and eight boards, but he went 0-for-8 from beyond the arc and committed six turnovers in total.

SMB will next face TNT in their best-of-seven semifinals starting next week.

With a report from Ivan Saldajeno

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