PBA: San Miguel overpowers TNT to tie semis series

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2021 04:12 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2021 04:55 PM

Mo Tautuaa in action for San Miguel Beer. PBA Media Bureau
Mo Tautuaa in action for San Miguel Beer. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA (UPDATED) - The San Miguel Beermen fired on all cylinders en route to a 116-90 demolition of TNT Tropang GIGA in Game 4 of the semifinal series on Sunday afternoon at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Seven players reached double-digits for San Miguel, as they evened up their best-of-seven series in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at two games apiece.

It was also a bounce back performance for the Beermen who were routed 115-98 in Friday's Game 3 and appeared to have no answers for TNT's firepower.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria adjusted by starting his veteran unit of June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos. The move paid off as seized control right from the opening quarter and never let up.

It was Moala Tautuaa who wound up leading San Miguel in scoring, as he made seven of his nine field goals for 25 points along with 10 rebounds. Terrence Romeo also came off the bench for 16 points, four boards, and four assists.

Fajardo finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Ross notched nine of San Miguel's 26 assists in the game.

"In the past few games namin with Talk 'N Text, we're always in a catch-up situation," said Austria. "What we want to have is a good start, which happened tonight."

"We were able to a good start, because we … limited our turnovers. It seems the culprit in our two losses against them is our turnovers," he added.

In their Game 3 defeat, the Beermen turned the ball over 24 times, leading to 29 points for the Tropang GIGA. TNT also scored 27 second chance points thanks to 20 offensive rebounds.

San Miguel cleaned up their act in Game 2, committing just 18 turnovers and limiting TNT's transition points to 12. On the other hand, they pounced on the Tropang GIGA's errors, scoring 22 turnover points.

"They're so focused (today)," Austria said of his players. "That's the key. Everybody, talagang nag-step up."

San Miguel built a 26-14 lead after the opening period, with Tautuaa setting the tone with 10 markers on 3-of-4 shooting from the field. The Beermen completely blew the game open in the second period, wherein they outscored TNT 31-18 to enter the break with a comfortable 25-point lead, 57-32.

Their lead would eventually balloon to 37 points, 81-44, in the third quarter. TNT mounted a fightback in the fourth and got the deficit down to 18 points, 98-80, with five minutes to go, but it was the closest the Tropang GIGA would get.

It did not help TNT's cause that starting center Poy Erram exited early in the second quarter after a collision with Tautuaa. He had to be helped off the court and has since been brought to a nearby medical facility for further check-up.

Jayson Castro led TNT with 15 points, and Glenn Khobuntin added 13 markers. But the Tropang GIGA managed to make only 37 percent of their shots, and had no answer defensively for the Beermen who made nearly 52 percent of their field goals in the game. 

The Scores :

SAN MIGUEL 116 – Tautuaa 25, Romeo 16, Fajardo 13, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 12, Santos 11, Perez 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 4, Zamar 3, Gamalinda 2, Gotladera 0

TNT 90 – Castro 15, Khobuntin 13, M.Williams 11, Rosario 10, Exciminiano 8, Mendoza 6, Heruela 5, Montalbo 4, Alejandro 4, Javier 4, Erram 3, Marcelo 3, Reyes 2, Pogoy 2

Quarters: 26-14, 57-32, 91-61, 116-90