Phoenix Pulse’s Matthew Wright is hounded by SMB guard Alex Cabagnot in this bit of action at the Cuneta Astrodome last night.
Jun Mendoza
SMB on verge of finale
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2019 - 12:00am

ROS, Magnolia clash for 3-2 lead

MANILA, Philippines — Unleashing the hot-shooting Terrence Romeo and a fluid running game, San Miguel Beer tightened the noose on Phoenix Pulse in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal showdown with an emphatic 114-91 victory last night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Romeo shot the lights out with a 20-point showing spiked by six triples, wrecking havoc in the fateful third as the Beermen pulled away to a  bounceback win from their 90-92 setback in Game Three and moved closer to wrapping up the race-to-four contest.

Romeo made 17 of his output in the penultimate period, outscoring the entire Phoenix squad (15), to tow SMB to an 89-63 cushion, from which the Fuel Masters couldn’t recover.

“I think that’s the turning point. He exploded and I’ve been waiting for him to do so at the right place, at the right time. He’s the main man tonight,” said SMB coach Leo Austria of his gunner off the bench.

Romeo’s explosion afforded Austria to give June Mar Fajardo a breather in the stretch of the highly physical Game Four that saw Phoenix’s Alex Mallari and JP Mendoza ejected in the second and third period, respectively. Fajardo finished with nine in only 21 minutes of play, as Alex Cabagnot (18), Arwind Santos (16), Von Pessumal (10) and Chris Ross (10) also providing significant contributions.

“Finally we had a good start in four games and I think that’s what we needed. We were able to dictate the tempo and although the game was physical, our players showed they won’t back down but played it smart,” said Austria, whose team scored 19 in transition against Phoenix’s seven.

“It’s very evident they wanted to win back-to-back. I didn’t really expect to win by a large margin but the players were so determined to win this, knowing how important Game Four was,” he added.

Calvin Abueva paced Phoenix with 19.

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine and Magnolia battle it out for control tonight after fighting on even terms in the first four matches of their own semifinal matchup.

Pivotal Game Five of the livewire duel is set at 7 p.m. also at the Cuneta Astrodome with the Elasto Painters and the Hotshots fighting for the 3-2 upperhand.

 “They (Hotshots) just tied the series. It’s nothing like they gained any momentum,” said ROS coach Caloy Garcia.

Notes: PBA commissioner Willie Marcial slapped fines on Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia and six players for their actions in the recent games. Garcia was fined P20,000 for his physical contact with a game official and another P2,400 for using profane language. Phoenix’ s Dave Marcelo was meted P20,00 for his flagrant foul 2 against San Miguel’s Christian Standhardinger while fellow Fuel Masters Matthew Wright and Calvin Abueva, E-Painters Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood, and SMB’s Arwind Santos were also handed fines for separate infractions.

The scores: 

San Miguel 114 – Romeo 20, Cabagnot 18, Santos 16, Ross 10, Pessumal 10, Standhardinger 9, Fajardo 9, Rosser 8, Nabong 7, Zamar 5, Vigil 2, Lassiter 0, Mamaril 0, Tubid 0.

Phoenix 91 – Abueva 19, Jazul 9, Marcelo 9, Perkins 8, Chua 8, Kramer 7, Intal 7, Napoles 7, Wright 6, Mendoza 4, Mallari 3, Revilla 2, Dennison 2, Guevarra 0.

Quarterscores: 27-20, 59-48, 89-63, 114-91.

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