PBA: San Miguel disconnects TNT from contention in Comm's Cup

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 11, 2018 09:25 PM
PBA: SMB disconnects TNT from contention in Comm's Cup
Renaldo Balkman and San Miguel have taken care of business against TNT (FILE PHOTO)

The hustle of Arwind Santos and the steady hands of Renaldo Balkman have spurred San Miguel into the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Santos’ save of a loose ball and Balkman’s 4-of-4 clip from the free throw line in the endgame boosted the Beermen past TNT in a close contest, 106-102, on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The two teams were all even at 98 inside the last two minutes and then traded a couple of defensive stops. “I think yung pride ng players, that’s the thing that prevailed,” head coach Leo Austria said post-game.

Following a Marcio Lassiter miss, however, Santos went after the loose ball which then found its way to the hands of Balkman who was able to fish for a foul.

The Puerto Rican reinforcement coolly converted his couple of charities which proved to be the go-ahead makes for the defending champions.

Six more made free throws from Balkman, June Mar Fajardo, and Chris Ross later and they eliminated the KaTropa from contention, sweeping the best-of-three quarterfinals series.

As always, San Miguel used a balanced attack to overwhelm its opponent with Balkman ending with 25 points, eight rebounds, and four assists and Fajardo finishing with a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double of his own.

Ross also added 11 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds while backcourt partner Alex Cabagnot himself stuffed the stat sheet with 21 markers, six dimes, and six boards.

The defending champions now turn their attention to a semifinals matchup opposite Vic Manuel-led Alaska.

The last time those two teams met, the Beermen came back from a 0-3 deficit to win the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup championship against the Aces.

For TNT, Terrence Romeo showed the way with 28 points on top of eight assists and five steals.

BOX SCORES

SAN MIGUEL 106 – Balkman 25, Cabagnot 21, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Ross 11, Nabong 9, Santos 8, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Heruela 0

TNT 102 – Romeo 28, Smith 21, Semerad 19, Rosario 11, Castro 7, Pogoy 6, Williams 6, Trollano 3, Taha 1, Carey 0, Reyes 0

QUARTER SCORES: 27-32, 55-56, 80-77, 106-102

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