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SMB withstands late Magnolia push to take PBA Comm's Cup Finals opener

Bennie Boatwright put up a solid game as San Miguel drew first blood in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—San Miguel braved through Magnolia's gallant fight in the end to take a 103-95 win in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals on Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Beermen nearly lost a 20-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hotshots eventually fell short of a comeback.

After a Bennie Boatwright dunk with a little over six and a half minutes left for a 94-74 SMB lead, Magnolia went on a 21-6 run to cut the lead down to five, 100-95, with 1:13 left.

The Hotshots had a chance to trim the lead further after Russel Escoto forced a turnover against Boatwright with 53 seconds left.

However, Jio Jalalon missed a baseline jumper in the next play, and Jericho Cruz bounced back from two free throw misses by forcing Jalalon to a crucial turnover afterward.

CJ Perez still kept the door open for Magnolia after he split his two free throws, but June Mar Fajardo grabbed the offensive rebounds and split his own charities for a 102-95 SMB lead with 27 seconds left.

Perez then blocked Tyler Bey's three-point attempt, and Jeron Teng nailed another free throw to finally seal the Beermen's win.

Boatwright led SMB with 28 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal, while Perez added 19 points, two rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block.

Bey had 26 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, and two steals to lead Magnolia, while Jio Jalalon came up just short of a triple-double with 12 assists, 11 rebounds, and eight points.

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 103 – Boatwright 28, Perez 19, Lassiter 16, Fajardo 11, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Romeo 5, Teng 4, Ross 2, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0, Brondial 0

MAGNOLIA 95 – Bey 26, Barroca 16, Jalalon 8, Sangalang 8, Dionisio 8, Eriobu 7, Abueva 6, Lee 6, Tratter 5, Escoto 3, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, Dela Rosa 0, Reavis 0

QUARTERS: 20-24, 61-44, 85-72, 103-95

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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