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SMB takes pivotal 3-2 PBA Comm's Cup Finals lead vs Magnolia behind Jericho Cruz's explosion

Jericho Cruz exploded for 30 points in a very important finals game. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—San Miguel moved to within a win from clinching the PBA Commissioner's Cup championship after pipping Magnolia, 108-98, in the crucial Game 5 on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Jericho Cruz helped the Beermen douse cold water on the Hotshots' comeback attempt by scoring a clutch three-pointer that capped an explosive game for him.

Up by as much as 14 with 6:55 left, SMB was suddenly hanging on to a three-point advantage, 99-96, with 1:14 remaining as Magnolia slowly fought back.

However, Cruz buried a booming three with 51 seconds left for a 102-96 lead.

Tyler Bey kept the Hotshots in the game with two free throws in the next play, but the Beermen ended the game with a 6-0 run.

Cruz finished with 30 points on 11-of-22 field goals including 8-of-14 from deep, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals for SMB, which can clinch the series on Wednesday night in Game 6 back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Bennie Boatwright, which was contained in the last two games, added 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while June Mar Fajardo, who played through a calf injury, put up 18 points, 15 rebounds, and one assist.

Bey fired 34 points on 11-of-22 shooting including 5-of-7 on three-pointers, eight rebounds, two assists, one block, and three steals for Magnolia, which now needs to win Game 6 to force Game 7 on Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 108 – Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Lassiter 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Brondial 0

MAGNOLIA 98 – Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0

QUARTERS: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98

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