February 28, 2024

PBA: Jericho Cruz, Simon Enciso catch fire, push San Miguel on verge of 29th title in Game 5

PBA: Jericho Cruz, Simon Enciso catch fire, push San Miguel on verge of 29th title in Game 5
Photo (c) Sherwin Vardeleon

As Bennie Boatwright continued to struggle from the perimeter, Jericho Cruz and Simon Enciso picked up the cudgels as San Miguel arrested its two-game skid with a convincing 108-98 win over Magnolia in Game Five of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Sunday night.

Cruz and Enciso combined for 13 triples as the Beermen regained steam and moved on the doorstep of a record-extending 29th crown after securing a 3-2 series lead.

 

Cruz fired 30 points, none bigger than the cold-blooded trey that gave the Beermen a 102-96 buffer before Boatwright and CJ Perez put the finishing touches to the much-needed victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The spitfire guard out of Adamson went on an 8-for-14 clip from the three-point zone which he laced with eight rebounds and four steals. Enciso finished with 15 points, all on three-pointers.

But Cruz and Enciso were not the only heroes for San Miguel.

 

June Mar Fajardo brushed off a tightness in his right calf as he threw his weight around and logged a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds. Boatwright contributed 21 points despite a dismal 1-of-6 shooting from the three-point area. The American reinforcement also hauled down 6 rebounds and dished out four assists.

“We were just composed in the final quarter. When they made a run we’re just there,” said SMB coach Jorge Gallent.

Eager to gain the upperhand for the first time in the series after overhauling an earlier 0-2 hole, the Hotshots did not go down without a fight.

Tyler Bey and Ian Sangalang conspired in the final minutes as Magnolia tried to erase an 87-97 deficit with 4:11 left to play. 

 The duo teamed up in a quick sequence where Sangalang scored on a short stab before Bey followed it up with a two-handed flush to allow the Hotshots to inch closer at 94-99 and keep their hopes alive with more than a minute remaining.

Bey later went to the line to sink a pair of free throws, 98-102, with 48.9 ticks to go, but that would be the last time Magnolia would score.

 

Bey led the Hotshots with a game-high 34 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block.

Jio Jalalon and Sangalang added 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Magnolia.