PBA: San Miguel sweeps NorthPort, books semis berth
MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel advanced to its first semifinals in two years after a quarterfinals sweep of NorthPort in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Beermen, who were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2020 at the hands of Meralco, held off NorthPort, 100-95 in Game 2 of their best-of-three series Thursday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
They will now face top seed TNT, which booted out Ginebra on Wednesday, in the semifinals.
A nine-point lead, 96-87, proved vital for the Beermen as that margin was enough for them to hold off the Batang Pier in the dying minutes of the game.
Greg Slaughter had two solid plays for NorthPort in the final minute alone, scoring on two put-back attempts that put the Batang Pier within four, 97-93, but San Miguel calmly finished the game from the line as Chris Ross’s two free throws put the Beermen ahead 99-93 with 31.5 seconds to play.
“We all knew that this won’t be an easy game because this is a do or die for NorthPort, and we consider NorthPort as a strong team,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “They’re not just young, but they’re also talented and ready to play.”
“I told the team that we have to play this game seriously. We want to get to the semifinals right away and we don’t want to play in a do-or-die third game.”
Terrence Romeo, who made his first game an injury on his right leg, gave the Beermen an 11-point lead, 89-78, off a three-pointer midway through the fourth.
NorthPort managed to cut the deficit to four, 89-85, after Syndey Onwubere capped off a 7-0 run with 4:58 to play.
CJ Perez had a team-high 21 points with two steals and two blocks to lead the Beermen while Moala Tautuaa added 17 points.
Slaughter finished with a game-high 27 points with 12 rebounds for the Batang Pier.
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