Beermen seize No. 1 spot, rally past TNT
San Miguel Beer claimed the No. 1 after rallying past TNT, 104-98, at the end of the elimination round in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tyler Wilkerson scored 36 points and grabbed 15 rebounds while June Mar Fajardo added 18 points and seven rebounds to power the Beermen, who finished with the same record as the Meralco Bolts at 8-3, but wound up at the top due to the winner-over-the-other rule.
“That is very important game for us because I told the boys this is already the start of the playoffs. We treated this game as a playoff game already,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria, whose team will take on the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals.
“We wanted to avoid facing Ginebra but we also cannot take Star lightly,” added Austria.
The Beermen went on an 11-1 run capped by a 3-pointer by Alex Cabagnot for 98-94 lead with 1:16 remaining. Up by only three, Wilkerson made a turnaround jumper before Fajardo scored on a tip in to seal the game and a twice-to-beat advantage.
The tandem of Wilkerson and Fajardo matched the offensive production of TNT in the fourth quarter as the two combined for 26 points.
David Simon led TNT, which played without one of its stars in Jayson Castro, with 32 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. Castro was in uniform but sat the game out due to a bum stomach.
The loss dropped TNT to sixth and will face Alaska in a best-of-three quarters on Sunday at the start of the playoffs.
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