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SMB prevails over Ginebra after wild ending to open PBA Comm's Cup semis clash

CJ Perez fired a season-high to lead SMB to a Game 1 thriller win. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—San Miguel held on after surviving a wild finish against Ginebra in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals through a 92-90 win on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Free throws from June Mar Fajardo saved the day for the Beermen, but the Gin Kings had their chances in the end.

After Tony Bishop scored on an equalizer with exactly a minute left for a 90-all tie, Bennie Boatwright tried to get the lead back for SMB with a three-pointer that he missed, but Fajardo grabbed an offensive rebound and fished a foul on Christian Standhardinger while going for the follow-up.

Fajardo, though, only made 1-for-2 in his penultimate trip to the line, leading to Ginebra's first opportunity to retake the lead.

However, Standhardinger missed a short jumper off Bishop's pass, and Chris Ross got the rebound and was fouled by Maverick Ahanmisi with 11 seconds to go.

Ross, though, was probably hacked by Ahanmisi at his arm area a bit too hard that he air-balled his first free throw.

Off a timeout, Ross missed his second charity, but Fajardo once again secured the offensive rebound and Bishop fouled him to stop the clock with nine seconds left.

Fajardo settled again for a split from the foul line as Scottie Thompson grabbed the rebound off Fajardo's second free throw miss, but Standhardinger could not handle Thompson's pass and Boatwright took the game-saving steal for the Beermen.

CJ Perez led SMB, now 1-0 up against Ginebra in the best-of-five series, with a season-high 26 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Boatwright, the current Best Import of the Conference race leader, added 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and one steal.

Standhardinger, the frontrunner in the Best Player of the Conference race, led the Gin Kings with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists, while Bishop added 20 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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