SMB fends off Meralco, takes 3-2 semis lead

San Miguel Beer staved off Meralco’s late charge to walk away with a crucial 89-78 win in the pivotal Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen stepped closer to a championship stint after taking a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 is on Sunday.

Allein Maliksi hit a crucial trey that put the Bolts within two, 76-78, before CJ Perez, Rodney Brondial and Jericho Cruz fired nine unanswered points to restore order with only 44 seconds to go.

Perez had a near double-double game of 25 points and nine rebounds, while Cruz added 17 markers and two steals.

June Mar Fajardo lorded it over inside the paint by grabbing 15 rebounds and 12 markers while Simon Enciso stepped up for 10 points and five rebounds.

Chris Newsome paced Meralco with 24 points and six rebounds for the Bolts, who committed an atrocious 18 turnovers.


The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL (89) — Perez 24, Cruz 17, Fajardo 12, Tautuaa 9, Enciso 8, Manuel 6, Lassiter 5, Brondial 5, Ross 0, Herndon 0

MERALCO (78) — Newsome 24, Maliksi 12, Hodge 11, Quinto 11, Almazan 8, Black 6, Pascual 2, Banchero 2, Hugnatan 2, Jose 0, Baclao 0

QUARTERS: 25-22, 41-44, 67-56, 89-78



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