SAN MIGUEL Beer played near perfect on Sunday and routed TNT Tropang Giga, 116-90, in Game Four to level their best-of-seven semifinals at 2-2 in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Riding started strong behind Moala Tautuaa’s explosive performance and even posted a 37-point advantage to send the series into a best-of-three affair.
Tautuaa scored 10 points in the opening quarter and nine in the second to finish with a game-high 25 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He was 10-of-13 from the foul line and had nine rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
He pushed the Beermen to a 26-14 lead after one quarter and 57-32 at half time.
Game One hero Marcio Lassiter scattered 13 points, including a three-point bomb that gave the Beermen their largest lead at 81-44 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.
“I feel like I did better this time because I am finishing my layups and it’s really good to see the ball went in,” Tautuaa, a transferee from TNT, said. “Coach Leo [Austria] got mad at me the last time and went to my room to beat me up. I mean it’s just listening to his game plan again and trusting our offense.”
Terrence Romeo made 16 points, got four rebounds and issued four assists, while six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo dominated with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Alex Cabagnot contributed 12 points and Arwind Santos was all over the place with 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks. CJ Perez had 10 points also for the Beermen, who bounced back from a lethargic performance in Game Three which they lost, 98-115.
“We were always in a catch-up situation. But we were able to get a good start because we were trying to limit our turnovers,” Austria said. “Everybody stepped up and that’s the key. It seems the culprit in our two losses against them was our turnovers.”
Austria had a forgettable Game Three where his crew suffered 24 turnovers that led to 29 TNT points. But in Game Four, the Beermen were cautious and committed only 18 turnovers.
Jayson Castro led TNT with 15 points with Glenn Khobuntin adding 13 points. Mikey Williams, struggled with 11 points on an atrocious 3-of-12 shooting and committed six turnovers.
TNT suffered a major blow in its frontline in the early part of second quarter after TNT’s JP Erram was hurt after accidentally colliding with Tautuaa in a rebound play in the second quarter and was sent to the hospital to check for possible concussion.
Game Five is tentatively set on Wednesday.