SAN Miguel equalized the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup Finals on Independence Day after defeating Meralco, 111-101, in Game Four at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen got a huge boost from second-stringers Vic Manuel and Terrence Romeo aside from the usual production of June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, and Marcio Lassiter to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

Game Five is scheduled on Friday, also at the Big Dome.

READ Fajardo wins 10th PBA Best Player of the Conference award

In their first appearance in this finals series, Manuel had eight points, six of which came in the third quarter, while Romeo had seven points after being sidelined in the first three games of the finals due to a nagging calf injury.

Chris Newsome’s career-night after scoring 40 points went for naught as Meralco's comeback fell short. Instead, the result of the highest-scoring game in the series reduced the finals into a best-of-three.

PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

On the night he received his 10th PBA-Nustar Cebu Best Player of the Conference award, Fajardo had a season-high 28 points while grabbing 13 rebounds as he atoned for a Game Three performance where he was held to five attempts.

The Beermen are now 8-2 in games where Fajardo captured his BPC plum, according to PBA statistics chief Fidel Mangonon.

Perez had 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Lassiter added 18 points and made four threes for San Miguel.

SMB coach Jorge Gallent played down the win, but was still happy with the team effort that resulted in the highest scoring game in the series.

"It’s a great win for us but we [only] tied the series, and just made it a best-of-three," said Gallent. "We talked about a lot of stuff yesterday in practice and we just talked to one another and said if we trust our teammates and we share the ball, the offense will come. And it showed now."

PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

Chris Banchero had 21 points, and Cliff Hodge had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Meralco to back up Newsome.

San Miguel actually started the match strong with a 23-9 lead, forcing Meralco to play catch-up all game long. Meralco got as close as 71-69 in the third, but San Miguel responded with a 9-2 burst thanks to the second unit led by Manuel and Trollano.

The scores:

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

2024-06-12T16:07:21Z dg43tfdfdgfd