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SMB takes pivotal Finals lead after braving late Meralco storm

Jericho Cruz bounced back from a lethargic Game 4 to help the Beermen retake the semis lead over the Bolts. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—San Miguel regained control of its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Meralco after scoring an 89-78 win in Game 5 of their series on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Beermen outscored the Bolts, 26-12, in the third quarter to open a 67-56 lead entering the fourth.

However, Meralco waxed hot to start the fourth quarter and drew to within just two, 76-78, with 3:09 left in the contest.

Despite its struggles from the free-throw line, it was the charities that saved the day for SMB as the team made five free throws on top of back-to-back field goals for the game-deciding 9-0 run that sealed the win.

CJ Perez led the Beermen, who can close out the series in Game 6 on Sunday night, with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks.

Jericho Cruz added 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, and two steals, while June Mar Fajardo chipped in 12 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and one steal.

Chris Newsome fired 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block for Meralco.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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