MANILA – San Miguel Beer took advantage of Jayson Castro's absence to tear TNT apart, 114-96, and force a winner-take-all Game 7 for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup crown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.
With Castro sitting out due to an ankle injury, RR Pogoy, despite a hot showing, came up short of providing the needed offensive juggernaut to compensate for Mikey Williams' subpar game as the Beermen sent the series to a decider on Sunday, also at the Big Dome.
The Beermen are undefeated in eight do-or-die matches in the Philippine Cup finals series since 2015.
SMB quickly pounced on TNT after scoring 40 points in the first quarter, the most that the latter conceded in a single quarter of a PBA finals game with Chot Reyes at the helm.
The Tropang Giga contained the Beermen a bit in the second quarter and remained within striking distance come halftime, 53-60, but the latter responded with a 29-18 third quarter to seal the rout.
Marcio Lassiter erupted from long range and finished with 22 points on 8-of-11 field goals, including 6-of-7 on threes, for SMB.
CJ Perez and Simon Enciso each added 20, while June Mar Fajardo, the Best Player of the Conference, had a double-double of 10 points on perfect 4-for-4 shooting and 12 rebounds.
"We will not concentrate on one player, June Mar. I want everybody to be involved, especially ‘yung mga shooter namin (our shooters), and that's what happened tonight," SMB coach Leo Austria said.
Lassiter and Enciso became the first teammates to hit six triples each since Chris Ross and Terrence Romeo made six or more each against the same TNT side in 2019.
Pogoy finished with 31 points and three rebounds for TNT while Williams was held to just two points.
San Miguel: 114 – Lassiter 22, Perez 20, Enciso 20, Tautuaa 15, Cruz 11, Fajardo 10, Brondial 6, Manuel 5, Ross 3, Pessumal 2, Canete 0, Herndon 0, Zamar 0, Faundo 0
TNT: 96 – Pogoy 31, Tungcab 12, Rosario 10, Montalbo 8, K. Williams 8, Erram 7, Alejandro 7, Marcelo 5, Banal 3, Cruz 3, M. Williams 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Reyes 0
Quarters: 40-24, 63-50, 92-68, 114-96 (PNA)