The San Miguel Beermen takes the first game against the Meralco Bolts in the first match of their best-of-seven series in the semifinals.
SMB concluded the contest with a dominant win over the Bolts with a final score of 121-97. The Beermen had control of the matchup since the first quarter when they tallied 33 points and held Meralco to only 17 points. They then maintained their scoring against the opposing team in the following periods and later on earn the victory.
Meralco was not able to break the losing momentum that began with their poor start in the first period. Despite having efforts to come back into the game, the Beermen always had a counterattack to not let them take the winning deficit that racked up by as much as 26 points.
CJ Perez torched Meralco with 25 points, five boards, four dishes, and four steals on the defensive end. Ten of his total markers were from their crushing first quarter. Brondial added an outstanding output for San Miguel, pulling off 20 points and 11 rebounds on 8-10 shooting against the Bolts.
Vic Manuel caused problems for Meralco as he came off from the secondary cast of San Miguel Beer, tallying 16 points while hitting seven of his eight attempts.
The guard duo of Meralco, namely, Black and Newsome, were inexistent again just like in Game 2 of the quarterfinals against the Kings where they had subpar performances. In this contest against San Miguel, Black had eight points and struggled on his shots, converting only four of his 15 looks while Newsome had nine points while shooting 4-10 from the floor and had five turnovers.
Banchero and Almazan led Meralco with 33 combined points, 16 from Almazan and 17 from Banchero.
Leo Austria, the Beermen’s head coach, was blissful in his player’s performance as they take a 1-0 lead over Meralco. Not only that but they also broke their losing slump against the Bolts in the post-eliminations.
“Talagang na-surprise kami sa performance ng mga players. Alam naman natin maraming beses kaming ipinahiya ng Meralco during the bubble. Then, in last conference, in the quarterfinals, na-eliminate nila kami,” Austria said.
Austria stated that they geared up carefully against Meralco, who defeated the Gin-Kings in their series that reached a third game in the quarterfinals.
“We’re really worried at the start especially with the way they beat Ginebra… But we addressed all the things. It is very important to win the first game especially in a series,” the coach said.
Meralco, who is still recovering their wounds from their battle against Ginebra, were no match against the well-rested Beermen, who had an eight-day breather prior to their first encounter in the semifinals.