PBA: San Miguel thumps TerraFirma Dyip to arrest slide

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 09:18 PM | Updated as of Oct 19 2020 09:41 PM

San Miguel's Moala Tautuaa had a game-high 25 points against TerraFirma Dyip. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- San Miguel Beer secured its first win inside the PBA's bubble after holding off TerraFirma Dyip, 105-98, on Monday night at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.

After winning their first game of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup all the way back in March, the Beermen lost their first two games of the restart and saw star guard Terrence Romeo exit the bubble with a shoulder injury. 

But they did enough on Monday night to fend off the stubborn Dyip, with Moala Tautuaa leading the way with 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Arwind Santos added a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Paul Zamar was inserted into the starting line-up and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Von Pessumal came off the bench to score 17 points including five three-pointers. 

"This win is really important, because you're talking about the morale (of the team)," said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. "If we lose this game, it's really hard to recover."

"Luckily, we're able to pull off a very important win. I'm so thankful to the players for their sense of urgency," he added.

The Beermen led by as much as 14 points, but TerraFirma refused to go away quietly and were down by just five points, 94-89, with still over five minutes left after an Andreas Cahilig three-pointer. 

Back-to-back buckets by Marcio Lassiter and Tautuaa gave SMB a more comfortable 98-89 lead, and they answered every TerraFirma basket with one of their own to ensure that the Dyip would not threaten. A jumper by Santos restored a double-digit lead, 104-93, with a minute and 33 seconds to play in the game. 

"Even though we don't have Terrence, some players ay nag-step up," said Austria. "Those players off the bench stepped up."

San Miguel is already playing without reigning six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, who is still recovering from a leg fracture. 

They bowed to Rain or Shine in their first game in the bubble, then were routed by TNT Tropang Giga on Friday night in the game that saw Romeo suffer a dislocated shoulder.

CJ Perez, the reigning Rookie of the Year, had 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists to lead the way for the Dyip, while Rashawn McCarthy added 15 points. However, their efforts were still not enough to keep TerraFirma from dropping to 0-3 in the PBA Philippine Cup.