MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Terrence Romeo tallied his best game so far in a San Miguel uniform as the Beermen overpowered the Magnolia Hotshots, 113-92, in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The four-time defending champions got off to a quick start, weathered Magnolia's fightback in the second quarter, then pulled away once more in the final period to register their second win in a row this conference.
The result improved San Miguel's record to 4-3, while handing Magnolia their second straight loss.
Romeo, acquired in a sensational offseason trade with TNT, finished with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while June Mar Fajardo added 22 points and 8 rebounds in a typically solid performance. Arwind Santos was unstoppable, firing 29 points while making 7 three-pointers.
"I think our last game against Blackwater gave us some momentum going to this game," said SMB coach Leo Austria after their huge win. "Wala akong masabi sa mga players. They were so focused. They know the importance of this game."
It was a wire-to-wire triumph for the Beermen, who opened up a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and built a 23-point lead early in the second period, 37-14, off a Chris Ross three-pointer.
But the Hotshots clawed their way back behind Paul Lee and Rodney Brondial, who provided a scoring punch off the bench. They managed to trim the deficit to just 9 points, 51-42, heading into the break. Magnolia would come as close as six points, 51-45, off a Rome dela Rosa triple in their first possession of the third frame.
The Hotshots just had no answer for Santos all game long, however. The veteran nailed triple after triple to pad SMB's lead, and Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot joined him in the three-point spree in the early goings of the third frame.
Romeo then took over late in the period, nailing two three-pointers in the final 3 minutes to give SMB an 82-69 lead going to the final quarter.
The Beermen poured it on from there, with Ronald Tubid adding a trifecta of his own before Romeo and Fajardo conspired to push SMB to a 92-76 advantage with under 8 minutes left. Their lead ballooned to 20 points once more, 100-80, after an and-1 by Lassiter with 4:43 to go.
SMB cruised to victory from there as both teams emptied their benches.
"Magnolia is a championship team, and everybody responded," Austria said of his players. "Our backs are against the wall, because it's hard to be 3-4 with four games remaining. With this win, we still have a chance to make it to the Top 2."
Cabagnot also reached double-digits with 11 points, as San Miguel shot 51% from the field.
Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 19 points, while Paul Lee added 16 markers and dela Rosa finished with 14. Jio Jalalon had 11 points, but ultimately the Hotshots could not match San Miguel's firepower.
SAN MIGUEL 113 -- Santos 29, Romeo 23, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 9, Ross 6, Nabong 3, Tubid 3, Pessumal 3, Mamaril 2, Zamar 2, De Ocampo 0, Vigil 0, Lanete 0.
MAGNOLIA 92 -- Sangalang 19, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 14, Brondial 12, Jalalon 11, Pascual 8, Simon 4, Calisaan 4, Abundo 2, Gamalinda 2, Barroca 0, Reavis 0, Herndon 0, Melton 0.
Quarter scores: 28-12, 51-42, 82-69, 113-92
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