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SMB downs Blackwater, clinches quarters bonus

Bennie Boatwright continued to wax hot as San Miguel Beer rolled past Blackwater, 125-117, to formally clinch one of the remaining twice-to-beat armors in the 2023-’24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, Jan. 12.

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Bennie Boatwright sustains his fiery form for the Beermen (PBA Images)

It seemed like Boatwright’s hands didn’t cool down after firing a season-best 51 points last time out, this time unloading 44 points highlighted by eight triples to help the Beermen shrug off a tough stand from the pesky Bossing.

The 6-foot-9 import proved to be a perfect complement to the game of the returning June Mar Fajardo, immediately thriving as a stretch-four in their first game together. He actually poured 26 of his total points in the first half to set the tone for the convincing win while also scattering 12 rebounds and five assists.

SMB closed out the eliminations with an 8-3 win-loss record and can still go up to as high as second seed depending on the results of the remaining games in the eliminations. The Beermen could face either No. 6 NorthPort or No. 7 Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals.

The Beermen also got solid contributions across the board with CJ Perez finishing with 15 points and Terrence Romeo adding 14 points and six assists.

Fajardo also announced his return with an all-around effort of 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Don Trollano and Jericho Cruz also chipped in 10 points apiece.

SMB led by as many as 17 points in the contest but the win didn’t come without a huge scare with Blackwater import Chris Ortiz also making sure to leave a lasting impression. He, along with rookie James Kwekuteye, went off on a huge 10-0 run to open the final frame to suddenly come within two, 98-96.

The Beermen, behind Boatwright, Romeo and Trollano, quickly restored order but the Bossing refused to go down without a fight and rallied back to within one, 107-106. A 7-0 spurt for SMB, however, proved to be the dagger to the hearts of Blackwater as the Beermen ended the elimination on a five-game winning streak.

Ortiz ended his PBA stint in the conference with 43 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Tyrus Hill and Rey Suerte provided support with 14 and 13 points respectively – all of which however went for naught as Blackwater ended the conference with only a win to show against 10 losses.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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