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PBA: SMB seals QF bonus after holding off Blackwater

Another explosive game for Bennie Boatwright lifted SMB to the twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—San Miguel secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals after pipping Blackwater, 125-117, on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen escaped one final push from the Bossing, who were playing spoilers, to assure themselves of the Top 4 finish, which comes with the quarterfinal bonus.

Up 98-84 late in the third quarter, SMB suddenly conceded a 12-0 Blackwater run that cut its lead to just two, 98-96, with a little over 10 minutes left.

The Beermen responded with a 7-0 run to up the lead back to nine, 105-96, but the Bossing drew near again with a 10-2 run that trimmed the gap to just one, 107-106, with 6:27 left.

Blackwater had a chance to tie the game, but Bradwyn Guinto settled for a split from the free throw line, and SMB made them pay by going on a 12-2 run that upped the lead back to 11, 119-108, with 1:14 left.

The Bossing had one last gasp with a 7-0 run to draw to within four, 119-115, with 26 seconds to go, but six straight free throws from Jericho Cruz iced the win for the Beermen.

Bennie Boatwright exploded anew for SMB, which finished its elimination round campaign at 8-3, with 44 points on 16-of-28 shooting including 8-of-17 from three-point range along with 12 rebounds and five assists.

CJ Perez added 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

June Mar Fajardo returned to the team after a hand injury and contributed 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one block, and one steal.

San Miguel could finish as high as the second seed if Phoenix falls to TNT in their last game on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

Chris Ortiz fired 43 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and one steal for Blackwater, which ended the conference at 1-10.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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