San Miguel bounces back, deals TNT its first loss

San Miguel bounced back from an alarming loss to Terrafirma just a week ago by demolishing previously unbeaten TNT, 83-67, in the elimination round of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Back on the court after a week’s worth of rest, the Beermen started out strong and quashed repeated comeback attempts by the Tropang Giga to secure their 4th win in 6 outings while dealing the Chot Reyes-mentored squad their firs defeat in 7 starts.

“I think that loss (to Terrafirma) was a wakeup call. The players are motivated. Nag-uumapaw ang energy nila knowing this is a huge game and we wanted to bounce back,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria during the post-game press conference.

“Going into the game, we were worried because one-week kaming hindi nakalaro and yung kalaban, they have the momentum from three wins (last week). Good thing, we kept on practicing para makuha yung gusto naming energy because we’re going up against TNT, a very cohesive and very organized team. Buti na lang din, nagkaroon ng law ng averages sila,” he added.

The Beermen, who led by as much as 27 points, were paced by sharp-shooter Marcio Lassiter who came through with 19 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and a steal in 39 minutes of play. Terrence Romeo added 16 markers while Mo Tauatuaa and CJ Perez chipped in 13 points apiece.

Arwind Santos contributed 9 points and 8 boards while 6-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo finished with 8 markers and a game-high 17 rebounds.

Chris Ross, meanwhile, became the 6th player to surpass 900 steals after the 36-year old Fil-Am guard stole the ball 6 times in the first half to hike his career total to 901.

The scores:

San Miguel 83 – Lassiter 19, Romeo 16, Tautuaa 13, Perez 13, Santos 9, Fajardo 8, Ross 3, Zamar 2, Pessumal 0, Gamalinda 0.

TNT 67 – Montalbo 13, Heruela 10, Pogoy 10, Rosario 9, Alejandro 7, M. Williams 7, Erram 5, Marcelo 3, Mendoza 2, Castro 1, Exciminiano 0, Reyes 0, K. Williams 0.

Quarterscores: 24-10, 43-30, 64-44, 83-67.

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