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San Miguel pulls plug on Rain or Shine’s bid

Photograph courtesy of PBA Jericho Cruz leads San Miguel’s local production with 20 points in the Beermen’s 127-122 win over Rain or Shine to make the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

San Miguel Beer poured its might in the third period by unloading 42 points before holding off a late rally by Rain or Shine to post a 127-122 triumph in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal round on Friday at the Philsports Arena.

Bennie Boatwrght jumpstarted the Beermen’s early onslaught, then Terrence Romeo came off the bench and turned out to be the gamechanger as San Miguel joined early qualifier Magnolia in the semifinal round.

It was the sixth straight win posted by the Beermen, now enjoying the longest-active winning streak at six, but more importantly moved into the Final Four where it awaits the winner between Barangay Ginebra and NorthPort.

“Whichever team we’re going to face, we just have to come out prepared,” said San Miguel Beer coach Jorge Gallent.

But Gallent was more pleased with how the Beermen shared the basketball, particularly in the third period, when the team started to pull away.

San Miguel outscored Rain or Shine in the third, 42-22.

The Beermen fired an amazing 70.8 percent (17-of-24) in the third frame while holding the Elasto Painters to just 35 percent (7-of-20) from the field.

Six players ended up in double figures for San Miguel led by Boatwright, who finished with 41 points, including five three-point shots.

Jericho Cruz contributed 20 points while Romeo produced 15. Both of them tallied seven each to back up the import’s 13-point production in the third period as the Beermen went for a tear.

Chris Ross chipped in 14 points, June Mar Fajardo had 13 and CJ Perez contributed 11 for the Beermen.

It was a sorry loss for Rain or Shine.

After winning six in a row to make its way to the quarterfinal round, Rain or Shine has been officially ushered to the exit door.

But head coach Yeng Guiao believes the Elasto Painters will be a much better unit come the Philippine Cup.

“We’re trying to build on our good run in the late stretch of our campaign here and bring it in the Philippine Cup,” Guiao said. “Hopefully, we’re going to have a much better start so we’ll have a better standing to get the playoff bonus.”

Rain or Shine started the Commissioner’s Cup at 0-5, but was able to turn things around midway through the elimination round after replacing import DaJuan Summers with Tree Treadwell.

But the Elasto Painters wound up at No. 7 entering the playoffs and faced the daunting task of having to beat San Miguel twice in a row.

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