Beermen too hot to handle

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Beermen too hot to handle
CJ Perez sizzles with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in another stellar game.

ANTIPOLO, Philippines — Juggernaut San Miguel Beer continued on its destructive path, flattening Terrafirma, 122-102, for yet another lopsided win in the PBA Governors’ Cup yesterday at the Ynares Center here.

SMB import Cameron Clark turned in his most explosive offensive outing of 31 points to go with 14 rebounds as CJ Perez filled up his statline with 20 markers, 11 boards and six assists and subs Mo Tautuaa and Allyn Bulanadi asserted themselves with 17 and 14, respectively.

The quartet’s brilliance offset the relatively low six-point tally of June Mar Fajardo, who did his share in rebounding (nine) and assists (six), and ultimately sparked SMB to a cracking follow-up to its previous romps over Phoenix (114-93) and Blackwater (105-86).

“We’re playing as a unit. I always tell them to play as one and share the ball and that’s what the players are doing. And defensively, we’re doing okay. That’s why we’re going out big,” said coach Jorge Gallent, whose charges drew level with NLEX (3-0) at No. 2 behind Converge’s leading 4-nil.

The Beermen encountered stiff resistance from the Terrafirma (1-2) early on before eventually imposing their might.

Later, TNT quickly restored signal strength and hammered out a 93-85 turnaround verdict over Magnolia to grab solo fourth at 3-1. The Hotshots fell to 0-2.

Coming out of Wednesday’s meltdown 110-108 loss to NLEX a lot smarter, the Tropang Giga pushed the right buttons this time against the rallying Hotshots and closed out strong to seal the deal.

“We told ourselves it should be a lesson learned against NLEX,” said TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa, referring to how they blew a 15-point margin and let the previous game slip away.

“And they’ve proven they’re good students. They knew what to do (during the Hotshots’ searing fightback), they executed down the stretch, they were aggressive, they were smart about the ball. I think that’s the difference, they were smarter today.”

Fresh from their 96-88 upset of Meralco, the Dyip started the game with a 15-9 lead.

Then the inevitable happened.

Powered by Clark and Bulanadi, the reigning Philippine Cup kingpin took command with a 38-23 exchange in the second canto to seize big leads that reached a high of 22 at 68-46.

“We’re not invincible. They (Dyip) started strong and we started flat. But after about three or four minutes, we just woke up and brought our San Miguel basketball,” said Gallent.

The debuting SMB mentor was all praises for the do-it-all Clark, who even flexed his offensive muscles after averaging 21.5 markers in his first two appearances.

“He does everything for us – he gets the rebounds, he guards the other import and he knows when to score. He’s filling his role perfectly,” Gallent said of Clark.

Jordan Williams (30) and Juami Tiongson (20) took the cudgels for the Dyip, who sustained their second setback in three games.

Meanwhile, NLEX (3-0) targets its fourth straight victory and a share of the lead against Phoenix (1-3) in prolific reinforcement Jonathon Simmons’ final outing today also here.

NBA vet Simmons can fulfill his promise of leading the Road Warriors to a perfect 4-of-4 card in the 4:30 p.m. tiff before leaving for China. Another former NBA player, Wayne Selden, is set to take his place.

Meralco (2-1) seeks to get back on track when it faces off with Blackwater (1-2) in the other game at 6:45 p.m.

The Bolts came off a shocking 96-88 setback to Terrafirma and would want to avoid a repeat against a Bossing side that welcomes back former Gilas mainstay Troy Rosario from injury.

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