PBA: San Miguel crushes Meralco to gain early lead in semis
MANILA, Phlippines–San Miguel Beer showcased its class as the league’s top team and pummeled a worn down Meralco squad, 121-97, on Wednesday to take Game 1 of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
CJ Perez scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half while Rodney Brondial had his best game in a Beermen uniform to complete a dominating win that put them ahead in the best-of-seven series.
Brondial finished with a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, once again displaying why he was a key signing when the league began implementing its new unrestricted free agent ruling at the start of the calendar year.
“I was surprised with the way the players performed because I didn’t realize how self-motivated they were,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
Perez’s 10 first quarter points helped Beermen go up 33-17 while Brondial’s presence in both shaded lanes kept at bay the Bolts, who three days earlier knocked off Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a tough three-game quarterfinal series.
San Miguel led by 23 multiple times in the second half and made sure Meralco would make a serious threat when the gap was trimmed to 14 in the fourth.
Chris Banchero and Game 3 hero Raymond Almazan scored 17 and 16 points for Meralco.
Chris Newsome, who had a triple-double in eliminating Ginebra, was limited to nine points, six rebounds and two assists while committing five turnovers.
SAN MIGUEL 121 — Perez 25, Brondial 20, Manuel 16, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 10, Cruz 9, Tautuaa 8, Enciso 8, Herndon 7, Pessumal 5, Ross 2.
MERALCO 97 — Banchero 17, Almazan 16, Kose 12, Hodge 11, Newsome 9, Quinto 9, Pascual 9, Black 8, Caram 4, Maliksi 2, Belo 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 33-17, 60-41, 85-64, 121-97.