PBA: San Miguel hands TNT its first loss

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2021 05:27 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2021 06:36 PM

Terrence Romeo of San Miguel puts up a shot against the TNT Tropang Giga.
Terrence Romeo of San Miguel puts up a shot against the TNT Tropang Giga. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) San Miguel Beer bounced back in impressive fashion, routing the erstwhile unbeaten TNT Tropang Giga, 83-67, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Beermen were coming off a disappointing defeat to TerraFirma where they wasted a huge lead and lost in overtime. But they made sure that they wouldn't absorb a second straight loss as they raced off to a quick start against the Tropang Giga.

Marcio Lassiter fired 16 points, Terrence Romeo added 16, and Mo Tautuaa and CJ Perez each had 13 markers. June Mar Fajardo grabbed 17 rebounds, while Chris Ross set the tone defensively as he notched six steals in the first half.

TNT lost for the first time in the conference after winning their first six games. 

"I'm so thankful with these players because 'yung sense of urgency, andoon 'yun eh," said SMB coach Leo Austria. "Alam naman natin, Talk 'N Text talagang played really well, a very cohesive team, very organized, and they are on a mission eh."

"But… 'yung mga players ko, they have something in mind. And, they want to win," he added.

A Troy Rosario jumper gave TNT its only lead of the game, 2-0, and San Miguel responded with 18 unanswered points to seize control of the contest.

The Beermen would go on to lead by as much as 27 points, 64-37, off a bucket by Tautuaa late in the second quarter. TNT's reserves, led by J-Jay Alejandro, made a run in the fourth frame and cut the deficit to as low as 13 points, 71-58, with under six minutes to go, but San Miguel was ready to respond.

Off a timeout, Romeo drilled a jumper for a 73-58 spread, and the Tropang Giga were unable to truly threaten again.

"It's visible kanina na 'yung mga players, 'yung energy nila, nag-uumapaw. That is because, this is a huge game, and we want to bounce back because of our loss before this game," said Austria.

San Miguel shot 42.4% from the field and limited TNT to just 33.3% shooting. The Tropang Giga's 67 points are their lowest output in a game since a 77-63 defeat to Petron Blaze in the 2013-14 PBA Philippine Cup. 

Kib Montalbo led TNT with 13 points, while Brian Heruela and Roger Pogoy each scored 10 markers. But with the game beyond reach, TNT coach Chot Reyes opted to rest his starters for most of the second half, and Jayson Castro logged only 16 minutes, wherein he missed both of his field goal attempts and scored just one point. 

The Beermen improved to 4-2 in the conference and remained in the hunt for a top two finish, which carries a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.