Magnolia comes back from 20 points down to book a semis slot, Fajardo leads San Miguel to the semis

San Miguel Beermen 106 – TNT KaTropa 93, San Miguel advances to the semifinals

The San Miguel Beermen relied on June Mar Fajardo’s steady offense and Arwind Santos’ fourth quarter explosion to get past the TNT KaTropa. The Beermen move on to the semifinals.

The signs of a monster game from June Mar Fajardo were evident as soon as the ball was tipped. The Beermen found Fajardo early and often as the Kraken delivered. He scored the first six points of San Miguel to set the tone for the game. The KaTropa tried to keep it close with their outside shooting but San Miguel’s inside game was just too much. Fajardo close the first half with six points in a 10-4 run by the Beermen. The MVP finished the first half with 22 on 9/11 shooting as San Miguel ran out to an eight-point lead.

In the second half, the KaTropa started to play with more urgency. Fajardo continued to dominate but the KaTropa answered back by deploying their young guns RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Anthony Semerads. The forward trio found their touch from beyond the arc and got out to running to lead TNT’s comeback. The KaTropa were within two points after a Semerad jumper heading into the final minutes of the game. Unfortunately, that was the closest TNT would get.

Fajardo and Santos combined for eight points in a 10-2 run as the Beermen rebuilt their double-digit lead, 100-90. The guards closed out the game as Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and Brian Heruela scored six points to put the game out of reach. Fajardo finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Beermen. Santos scored 10 of his 15 points in the final period. San Miguel now waits for the winner of the Alaska-NLEX quarterfinals series.

Magnolia Hotshots 86 – GlobalPort Batang Pier 79, Magnolia advances to the semifinals

The Magnolia Hotshots completed a come from behind win over the GlobalPort Batang Pier to advance to the semifinals. They now wait for the outcome of the Rain or Shine-Ginebra series for their opponent in the next stage.

It was a lethargic start for the Hotshots as they just couldn’t find their offense in the first period. The Hotshots were held scoreless for nearly six minutes in the first quarter. The Batang Pier took advantage of the that situation by going on a 14-0 run led by Stanley Pringle. Pringle’s outside shot was wet in the first quarter and he was responsible for the early six-point lead. But he relentlessly attacked the basket in that monster GlobalPort run, scoring six straight points to get their lead up 26-6. Magnolia was able to salvage the quarter by scoring six straight points to cut the lead down to 14.

GlobalPort maintained a double-digit lead for most of the first half but they bucked under the pressure in the third quarter when Magnolia went on a big run to overtake them. It was the veterans Mark Barroca and Marc Pingris that led the comeback in the third period. Pingris was a beast down low as he scored on hooks and flip shots near the hoop. Barroca was tenacious on both ends of the floor, hounding Terrence Romeo defensively and attacking the basket strong on offense. A three-point shot by Barroca gave the Hotshots their first lead of the game, 54-53. Coach Pido Jarencio called a timeout and got into a verbal tussle with Terrence Romeo as the two met on the sidelines. The Batang Pier melt down was in full effect.

The Hotshots made up for the first quarter when they poured on the offense in the second half. Pingris and Barroca scored back-to-back baskets to cap an 8-2 run that would give the Hotshots a double-digit lead. Pringle tried to fight back cutting the lead down to just four points with under two minutes left in the game. But the Hotshots were too steady from the line, nailing six free throws to ice the game.

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