By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE defending PBA Philippine Cup champions San Miguel Beermen are on the cusp of making a return trip to the finals of the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association tournament after defeating the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 114-91, in Game Four of their best-of-seven semifinals on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

Up 2-1 entering last night’s game, the Beermen created further separation with the victory at 3-1, which gave them a good window to barge back into the finals and win their fifth straight All-Filipino title.

Terrence Romeo and Alex Cabagnot showed the way for San Miguel in the win, tallying 20 and 18 points, respectively, in the game that saw them having it steady on both ends right from the start to get the better of Phoenix.

The game got off to a competitive and physical start with the two teams jockeying hard to get early control.

The opening quarter finished at 27-20 with San Miguel on top, maintaining such distance as the contest hit the halfway point, 59-48.

Mr. Cabagnot helped the Beermen to a fiery start in the third period, towing his team to a 9-3 run in the first four minutes to extend their lead to 17 points, 68-51.

Things only worsened for Phoenix after as Mr. Romeo got hot from beyond the arc, jolting San Miguel to speed away as the quarter progressed and hold a commanding 89-63 lead entering the fourth period.

Phoenix tried to make a game out of it to begin the final canto but it would have little success as San Miguel continued to dominate.

The count was at 107-82 with 5:30 to go and the Beermen just coasted along from there to book the win.

Arwind Santos had a solid game of 16 points and eight rebounds for San Miguel with Von Pessumal and Chris Ross with 10 points each.

Marcio Lassiter played limited time after sitting out the previous game with back spasms.

Calvin Abueva led the way for Phoenix with 19 points and 15 rebounds but got little support especially from Matthew Wright who only had six markers in the contest.

San Miguel can go for the series closeout on Thursday in Game Five also at the Cuneta Astrodome.