San Miguel tries to put Ginebra on the ropes in PBA semis

San Miguel tries to put Ginebra on the ropes in PBA semis

/ 05:20 AM January 26, 2024

San Miguel Beermen PBA semis Game 1 Ginebra

San Miguel Beermen’s CJ Perez in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/

CJ Perez’s performance for San Miguel Beer in Game 1 of its PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series with Barangay Ginebra was evident that the Beermen are not just a team that would rely on the twin front-line combo of import Bennie Boatwright and June Mar Fajardo to win.

“Well CJ is CJ,” said Beermen coach Jorge Gallent, who saw Perez produce a conference-high 26 points along with key plays apart from scoring in the 92-90 win that put them up one game in the best-of-five series.


“When we needed the rebound, when we needed the steal and when we needed offense, he was there. I’m very happy that he played very well in the dying minutes,” added Gallent as San Miguel tries to repeat over Ginebra in Friday’s Game 2 at Mall of Asia Arena.


SCHEDULE: PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals

Perez had a key offensive rebound that later set up June Mar Fajardo’s go-ahead foul shot that broke the final tie with 23 seconds left, and previously made basket after basket during a seesaw fourth quarter of the semis opener held two nights prior at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

That epitomized the deep lineup of San Miguel, which, during an eight-game winning streak that stretched into the playoffs has been credited mainly due to the arrival of the 6-foot-8 Boatwright who’s complementing Fajardo’s inside game with his outside shooting.

“We are going to try to find a way to beat this good team, tough team. They have a lot of different kinds of weapons,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who is hoping that adjustments can translate into a well-executed plan and enable the crowd darlings to deny San Miguel a commanding 2-0 lead after the 4 p.m. contest.

Their sister team, Magnolia, will attempt to do the same thing to Phoenix in the latter half of the doubleheader at 8 p.m.

Picking a poison

PBA San Miguel June Mar Fajardo Bennie Boatwright

San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo and Bennie Boatwright. –MARLO CUETO/

Perez and the Boatwright-Fajardo pair were the weapons San Miguel brandished as veterans Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross plus Jericho Cruz and Don Trollano also came through in the win.

The deep lineup of the Beermen made up for the absence of Terrence Romeo, who was scratched due to an ankle injury. The former scoring champion has already embraced the role of being a guy that would inject some energy off the bench.


For Cone, it seems as if Ginebra would rather pick its poison in an attempt to get the shot at winning.

“Terrence didn’t play. I assume he might come back on Friday. But he might be the next guy to step up,” said Cone. “They have a lot of weapons. That’s kinda like the choices you make. Focus on June Mar and Boatwright, and someone else is going to beat you.”

Ginebra seemed to have found a way to put Boatwright in difficult spots, forcing him into tough attempts with mostly import Tony Bishop in front.

For Perez, that one situation may open opportunities for him and others to deliver.

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“I know how physical Ginebra is, and they make things hard for Bennie by not giving him the shots that he normally takes,” Perez said in Filipino.

TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer

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