SMB disconnects Converge’s playoff bid, gets F4 spot


SAN MIGUEL BEER didn’t let Converge to get a chance to drag their playoff battle into a sudden death war, as it routed the FiberXers, 121-105, to barge into the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, the No. 2 Beermen used a dazzling 37-24 run in the third period highlighted by Cameron Clark’s superior scoring display to wait for the winner between defending champion Barangay Ginebra and NLEX in the semifinals.

Clark torched Converge’s defense in all fronts particularly in the third quarter, where he piled up 16 of his 40 points in addition to 13 rebounds, while CJ Perez was outstanding with 26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals.

The Beermen have been working very hard in the paint without the injured six-time Season Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, who is recovering from an injured left knee and could be out for five more weeks.

“Nothing comes easy in the playoffs now,” San Miguel Beer coach Jorge Gallent said. “We had a hard time against Converge today in the playoffs, and we expect to have a hard time also in the semifinals.”

Vic Manuel added 20 points and Jericho Cruz contributed 12 points also for the Beermen.

After allowing the FiberXers seize the edge at the half, 58-57, the Beermen banked on Clark, Manuel and Perez to regain the lead after the third period, 94-82, and stretch their lead to 121-103 near the endgame.

The FiberXers, who sent Jamaal Franklin home, failed to weather the storm brought by San Miguel Beer despite fielding another high-scoring New Zealander import Tom Vordanovich who scattered 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Converge started 4-0 in the elimination, but ended No. 7 in the elimination and couldn’t get one of the four twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals.

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