San Miguel Beer essayed a dominant 121-97 against Meralco in Game 1 of their best-of-7 PBA Philippine Cup semis on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
CJ Perez orchestrated the early assault that led to the Beermen's 1-0 series lead against the battle weary Bolts.
Perez poured in 10 of his 25 points in the first quarter, where they outscored Meralco, 33-17. He also tallied 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Rodney Brondial was equally impressive in Game 1 with 20 points and 11 boards, while Vic Manuel had 16 markers.
San Miguel now holds a 1-0 series lead in their race-to-4 affair.
The Beermen's coach Leo Austria was delighted by their victory especially after losing several times to the Bolts in past playoffs.
"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," said Austria.
The coach said they prepare thoroughly for Meralco, which eliminated Barangay Ginebra in a bruising quarterfinal series.
"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," said Austria.
The highly physical encounter with Ginebra obviously took a toll on the Bolts, who failed to match the Beermen's energy.
Chris Banchero topscored Meralco with 17, while Raymond Almazan added 16.
SAN MIGUEL 121 – Perez 25, Brondial 20, Manuel 16, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 10, Cruz 9, Tautuaa 8, Enciso 8, Herndon 7, Pessumal 5, Ross 2
MERALCO 97 – Banchero 17, Almazan 16, Kose 12, Hodge 11, Newsome 9, Quinto 9, Pascual 9, Black 8, Caram 4, Maliksi 2, Belo 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0
QUARTERS: 33-17, 60-41, 85-64, 121-97
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