By JONAS TERRADO
San Miguel Beer continued its turnaround from a 0–2 start after beating another struggling team in Terrafirma, 100-88, Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Romeo led the charge with 23 points as the Beermen stretched their winning streak to three games, but not before shaking off a minor scare late in the fourth quarter.
After enjoying a comfortable lead all throughout, SMB watched as Terrafirma got to within six, 94-88, on Juami Tiongson’s triple with under two minutes to go in the contest.
Romeo, however, made sure the Beermen would avoid a collapse, hitting a jumper on the next possession to set up a 6-0 windup.
SMB ended 2021 on a high note after starting the season-ending conference with losses to NLEX and Alaska.
Coach Leo Austria’s wards have since bounce back by defeating winless sides NorthPort and Blackwater.
“I have to commend the players because of the sacrifices in spite of the holiday,” said Austria. “They’re always present in the practices because they know the importance of our games after two consecutive losses and I’m happy for them.”
Import Brandon Brown also scored 23 points while adding 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block even as CJ Perez produced 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists against his former team.
Tiongson scored 21 points but the Dyip dropped their third straight to go 1-4 this conference.
Terrafirma import Antonio Hester struggled before finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
Meantime, TNT survived an agonizing windup and escaped with a 95-92 win over Rain or Shine and ended the calendar year on a positive note.
The Tropang Giga nearly saw the game slip away from their hands after the Elasto Painters cut a 12-point deficit down to only 93-92 behind the shooting of Rey Nambatac and import Henry Walker.
Luckily for TNT, Walker missed a go-ahead three in the final seconds and Poy Erram hit two free throws to eventually go 2-2 in the season-ending conference.
Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Mikey Williams scored 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting with five rebounds and six assists as TNT welcomed new import Aaron Fuller with a win.
Fuller, back for another tour of duty after past stints with NLEX and Blackwater, came in to replace the injured McKenzie Moore and put up 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
“This is the first time the players saw Fuller,” said coach Chot Reyes. “He just got out of quarantine last night, so he wasn’t able to practice. So we were doing things on the fly, we were doing a lot of adjustments on the fly, on the court.
SAN MIGUEL 100 — Romeo 23, Brown 23, Manuel 14, Perez 17, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 8, Tautuaa 2, Enciso 2, Pessumal 0, Zamar 0.
TERRAFIRMA 88 — Tiongson 21, Hester 19, Calvo 9, Daquioag 8, Cahilig 7, Ramos 7, Gabayni 4, Camson 4, Pascual 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Batiller 2, Ramos 2.
Quarters: 27-18, 48-37, 77-58, 100-88.
TNT 95 — M. Williams 25, Pogoy 18, Erram 15, Fuller 13, Reyes 11, Castro 11, K. Williams 2, Heruela 0, Exciminiano 0, Khobuntin 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Banal 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 92
— Walker 32, Mocon 13, Ponferada 12, Belga 11, Nambatac 9, Norwood 6, Asistio 5, Santillan 3, Caracut 1, Torres 0, Borboran 0, Wong 0, Jackson 0.
Quarters: 21-27, 44-47, 77-65, 95-92.