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PBA: San Miguel digs deep to equalize series vs. Meralco

San Miguel turned to its deep bench to bounce back and put the lights out against Meralco, 111-101, in Game 4 of their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen stepped on the gas right from the get-go behind the recently-crowned Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo and never allowed the Bolts to take the lead to tie the series at 2-2, turning it to a virtual best-of-three affair.

Fajardo, who atoned from a season-low field goal attempts back in Game 3, got ample help from the rest of the Beermen with the likes of Vic Manuel and Terrence Romeo delivering in their first taste of action in the championship duel.

Fajardo got his offensive juices going early, grabbing 18 points right away in the first half that saw the Beermen mount a 51-40 lead before the Bolts surged in the third period. Chris Newsome dropped 16 of his total output in the penultimate period, allowing the Bolts to close the gap to eight, 74-82, after trailing by as much as 14 early in the first quarter.

Another pair of free throws from Newsome trimmed the Meralco's deficit to a single possession at 85-88 before he completed a three-point chance that saw them in a six-point hole, 93-99. 

But the Beermen unleashed a 12-7 closing run to seal the victory. 

Fajardo finished with a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds while CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter poured in 22 and 18 markers apiece. Manuel and Romeo chipped in eight and seven points each to lead the bench mob. 

The loss, however, spoiled a career night for Newsome, who tallied 40 points on top of six rebounds, and four assists.
Both teams will look to secure a much-needed series lead in Game 5 on Friday at the same venue.


San Miguel 111– Fajardo 28, Perez 22, Lassiter 18, Tautuaa 9, Trollano 8, Manuel 8, Romeo 7, Ross 6, Cruz 5, Brondial 0, Teng 0.

Meralco 101– Newsome 40, banchero 21, Hodge 17, Maliksi 9, Quinto 6, Bates 4, Almazan 2, Rios 2, Caram 0, Torres 0.

Quarters: 29-22, 51-40, 82-74, 111-101.

—JKC, GMA Integrated News