By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
DOWN 0-1 in their best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup finals series, the San Miguel Beermen look to rebound and level the affair with the TNT KaTropa in Game Two today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Set for 7 p.m., the Beermen, 109-96 losers in the series-opener on Sunday, try to avert being down deeper in the series and get back on track in the finals race.
San Miguel competed early in the opening quarter in Game One but was outplayed and left in the dust by in-the-zone TNT the rest of the way, something it is angling to address in the second game.
The contest was tied at 17-all with 4:40 to go in the opening quarter before TNT went on an 18-2 run for the remainder of the period to build a 35-19 lead after the first 12 minutes.
The Texters never looked back after that even if the Beermen tried hard to charge back.
San Miguel import Chris McCullough had a solid double-double of 33 points and 15 rebounds with June Mar Fajardo adding 23 points.
After them, however, no other Beerman had much significant impact especially when TNT pulled away.
Making matters worse for San Miguel, prolific TNT import Terrence Jones practically had his way throughout the match on his way to 41 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks.
For Beermen coach Leo Austria, the poor first half they had in Game One did them in as they were not able to recover from it.
“We did not have a good first half but I think in the second half we did a better job adjusting. It’s just that we were not able to pull off the win,” Mr. Austria said after Game One.
“They shot well against us and Terrence Jones just took over. We will try to regroup and make the adjustments for the next game,” he added.
As a team, TNT made 13 three-pointers in the series-opener with a 34% efficiency rate.
The team also outrebounded San Miguel, 47-43, and, 18-14, on the offensive boards, which made it more difficult for the Beermen in their comeback bid.
San Miguel, the Philippine Cup champion, looks to get the Commissioner’s Cup title to put itself in position to win another PBA Grand Slam.
TNT, for its part, is out to win its first PBA title since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.