PBA Finals: San Miguel breaks the tie, now leads series 2-1 over TNT

    MANILA, Philippines – It is two-in-a-row for San Miguel Beermen as they dismantled TNT Katropa, 109-97, and took the series lead 2-1 on Sunday, June 25, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    San Miguel breaks the tie, now leads series 2-1 over TNT
    Game 3 birthday boy and lucky charm Charles Rhodes posted another spectacular 20-20 game against TNT Katropa. Rhodes had 25 points and 20 rebounds. Photo Credit: pba.ph
    Good start for San Miguel as Marcio Lassiter immediately connected from his comfort zone and that shot from the outside sent a strong message to TNT Katropa as the deadly shooter only needs a basket to get his rhythm going.

    Charles Rhodes who was completely shut down last game came alive today and let TNT felt his presence in the shaded lane. His counterpart, Joshua Smith, struggled on the floor and committed 2 too early fouls with 6 more minutes to go in the opener.

    Despite playing all locals mid of the 1st quarter, TNT kept SMB’s margin slim through the combined efforts of 2 RR’s: Ryan Reyes and RR Garcia. Anthony Semerad continued to contribute both offensively and defensively especially in shadowing Charles Rhodes.

    To culminate the first period of game 3, it was almost a one on one basketball between 2 guards, Alex Cabagnot and RR Garcia. Both guards displayed terrific ball handling and basket slashing skills that tied the game at 23 after the first 12 minutes.

    San Miguel tightened-up its defense at the start of the second to re-gain the lead. The combination of Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross hounding the lone Jayson Castro became effective and disrupted the TNT guard’s plays.

    TNT plays well in general with Joshua “Jumbotron” Smith on court and became its winning barometer since the playoffs started. On the other hand, SMB becomes successful when the locals step-up. In the first half at least, the pattern continued. Both imports were on their respective benches but this favored San Miguel heavily as the locals led by Chris Ross controlled the game.

    The Beermen suddenly scrambled after Chris Ross was whistled for a technical foul for engaging a word war against Ryan Reyes. TNT switched the momentum to their side and grabbed the lead as the second quarter expired 47-46.

    RR Garcia led all players with 15 while Charles Rhodes’ 12 topped all the Beermen in scoring department.

    With just a minute gone by after the third quarter started, SMB made a 6-0 blitz that startled Coach Nash Racela who also burned a full time-out to ice the hot Beermen.

    Birthday boy Charles Rhodes obviously had a great night in this game. In contrary, June Mar Fajardo had a quiet night who only scored 2 points in the first half. Good thing for the Beermen that Joshua Smith was also silent as he nursed both his right foot and personal fouls so they maintained their margin.

    June Mar Fajardo aside from low game output, committed his 4th personal foul with 4 more minutes left in the third. Even though the “Kraken” was out, Alex Cabagnot was still relentless in attacking the rim to keep them afar.

    TNT got closer to SMB by doing multiple foul shots in the penultimate period. San Miguel finished the third quarter with a thin 7-point lead, 79-72.

    As always, super import Charles Rhodes got into foul trouble once again despite the good performance that he showed in this game. Rhodes obtained his 5th foul with 8:25 remaining in the final chapter. SMB however had the tiny advantage over TNT, 88-82.

    Game 2 hero Arwind Santos, replicated his spectacular performance in game number 3. He took over Charles Rhodes’ scoring chores when the latter sat down to preserve his last and final foul. SMB extended their lead to 11 with over 3 minutes left.

    Chris Ross’ three point shot with 1:06 left and 14 point lead signaled the fans that the game is over. The final buzzer validated San Miguel’s victory over TNT 109-97 and carry the 2-1 series lead onto game number 4 on Wednesday.


    SAN MIGUEL 109 - Cabagnot 28, Rhodes 25, Ross 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 10, Fajardo 6, Heruela 5, Semerad 2, Tubid 0, Espinas 0

    TNT 97 - Garcia 19, Smith 18, Castro 17, Semerad 12, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Tautuaa 7, Reyes 7, Pogoy 0, Rosario 0

    Quarter Scores: 23-23, 46-47, 79-72, 109-97

    -- Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express
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