MANILA (UPDATED) - CJ Perez displayed his all-around skills and the San Miguel Beermen recovered from their first loss of the conference by overpowering the Converge FiberXers, 111-92, on Sunday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
He tallied a triple-double of 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, while June Mar Fajardo was unstoppable inside the paint and finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Mo Tautuaa also had a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds), and Jericho Cruz was superb off the bench with 22 points.
San Miguel is now tied for first place with Barangay Ginebra, with identical 4-1 win-loss records.
Meanwhile, it was a tough result for the FiberXers who dropped to 2-4 in the conference, while also losing rookie big man Justin Arana to a knee injury in the fourth period.
"I told them that we had to bounce back after the last game namin," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria of his squad, which absorbed a slim 75-72 defeat against Barangay Ginebra last Friday. "But we know na ang Converge, hindi pwede biruin."
The Beermen gave Converge no chance as they raced to a 28-16 lead in the opening quarter, with Cruz already scoring 10 points. The lead reached 31 points in the second quarter, 57-26, with Marcio Lassiter waxing hot from long distance. Fajardo also knocked down a three-pointer in the period -- his first of the season -- guaranteeing P1000 for his charitable efforts.
San Miguel led 62-39 at the half, but the FiberXers tried to cut into the deficit in the third frame behind Allyn Bulanadi, who had 13 points in the period.
The deficit was simply too big for Converge to overcome, however, as they could only exchange points against the Beermen and struggled to put a string of stops together. A layup by Perez pushed the SMB advantage back to 28 points, 104-76, with under four minutes to play and the FiberXers faded away from there.
Bulanadi had 22 points and Mike DiGregorio finished with 21, but of pressing concern for Converge is the status of Arana who had to be helped off the floor with seven minutes to play and could not put any weight on his right leg.
The FiberXers were already playing without Jeron Teng (hip), though big man Abu Tratter made his conference debut in the contest and had three assists in 13 minutes.
SAN MIGUEL 111 – Cruz 22, Tautuaa 19, Fajardo 18, Perez 15, Lassiter 12, Canete 10, Zamar 9, Enciso 4, Brondial 2, Pessumal 0, Herndon 0, Faundo 0
CONVERGE 92 – Bulanadi 22, DiGregorio 21, Hill 15, Ahanmisi 10, Murrell 10, Arana 4, Racal 4, Adamos 2, Tolomia 2, Stockton 2, Ilagan 0, Tratter 0, Browne 0, Lojera 0
QUARTERS: 28-16, 62-39, 86-66, 111-92