Defending champion San Miguel Beer avoided complications as it powered past the TNT KaTropa, 106-93, to barrel into the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Beermen established control early before surviving TNT’s gutsy challenge in the second half to emerge victorious in their quarterfinal encounter and send their victims to an All-Filipino Cup exit.
BPC frontrunner June Mar Fajardo had a monstrous night, posting 35 points on excellent 15-of-19 clip from the field, on top of 11 boards, two blocks, and one assist in over 38 minutes.
Marcio Lassiter finished with 20 points, five boards, two assists, and two steals, while two more SMB starters scored in double figures.
Fajardo immediately made his presence felt, as he punished his counterparts inside the paint for a 12-point production in the opening quarter that gave San Miguel a 31-23 advantage.
The defending champions remained on top at the end of first half, 52-44. But the trio of Castro, Pogoy, and Rosario resuscitated the KaTropa in the third quarter to stay within striking distance.
But in the final four minutes, the defending champions stepped on the gas pedal and went on a 14-3 onslaught, turning a slim 90-88 lead to their largest one at 104-91 with only 57 seconds left to secure the win.
Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario paced the TNT KaTropa with 19 points apiece in a losing effort.
SAN MIGUEL 106 – Fajardo 35, Lassiter 20, Santos 15, Ross 13, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, De.Ocampo 3, Pessumal 2, Espinas 1.
TNT 93 – Castro 19, Rosario 19, Pogoy 17, A. Semerad 16, Williams 15, Cruz 3, Torres 2, Garcia 2,.Tautuaa 0,.Paredes 0, Carey 0, Reyes 0.
Quarter scores: 31-23, 52-44, 77-72, 106-93.