Beermen torch Hotshots to reclaim Finals series lead

San Miguel Beer is back in control of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals after breaking free of their offensive struggles behind Jericho Cruz’s playoff career-high performance.

The Beermen took a pivotal 3-2 series lead over the gritty Magnolia Hotshots with a 108-98 Game 5 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Cruz sparked San Miguel’s resurgence by knocking down 8 three-pointers en route to a 30-point outburst.

After being limited to just 82.5 points on average over the previous two games, Cruz and the Beermen found their shooting touch again.

Simon Enciso, Don Trollano and Bennie Boatwright combined for 8 more triples as the team shot 37% from deep overall. June Mar Fajardo anchored the interior offense with an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double.

The former Adamson standout shot 11-22 overall while contributing 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in his most impactful performance of the series so far after averaging just 9.6 points through the first 4 games. Boatwright added 21 points despite dealing with Magnolia’s Tyler Bey, who erupted for 34 points and 8 boards.

Enciso and Trollano chipped in 15 and 10 points respectively while CJ Perez had 8.

The Hotshots got little help for Bey, Jalalon (17 points) and Sangalang (15). Mark Barroca struggled to just 4 points on 2-7 shooting and Paul Lee managed 12 off the bench.

With the crucial Game 5 victory, San Miguel moves within one win of reclaiming the Commissioner’s Cup title they last captured in 2019.

The Beermen will look to close out the Hotshots, who need to win two straight to claim their first championship in 6 years, in Game 6 on Wednesday.

The scores:

San Miguel 108 – Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Lassiter 2, Brondial 0.

Magnolia 98 – Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0.

Quarterscores: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98.

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