Cruz, Enciso make it rain in Game 5 as San Miguel regains series lead

The San Miguel Beermen are a win away from crowning themselves as champions anew.

After back-to-back losses that saw the series tied at two games apiece, San Miguel outhustled Magnolia, 108-98, in Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, and thanks in part to the hot hands of Jericho Cruz and Simon Enciso.

Cruz dropped a huge 30-point performance built on eight triples alongside eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals off the bench, while Enciso had 15 markers anchored on five three-pointers to go with five boards and three dimes on a rare starting role. 

The two guards took turns in leading the Beermen in the pivotal clash with Enciso, who was seldom used in the past four games, dropping three triples in the first half to help San Miguel build a 48-41 cushion.

The Hotshots, though, staged multiple comeback attempts, including a 9-0 run in the third period that knotted the game at 56–all.

However, a telling fourth quarter showing from Cruz proved to be the game changer for the Beermen.

The 33-year-old Cruz, who missed Game 3 due to a one-game suspension after incurring five technical fouls, suddenly caught fire by igniting for two three-pointers in a row to send San Miguel to an 88-75 cushion.

The Hotshots refused to give up as Ian Sangalang and Tyler Bey cut the deficit to five, 99-94. Cruz, though, nailed a corner triple off a Chris Ross dime for a crucial 102-96 lead in the final 51.9 seconds.

Bennie Boatwright, whose two late free throws basically sealed it for San Miguel, finished with 21 points, six rebounds, and four assists while June Mar Fajardo churned out 18 markers, 15 boards, and one dime. 

Bey paced Magnolia with 34 points, eight rebounds, and two assists as Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang put together 17 and 15 markers each. 

San Miguel will look to finish the series off on Wednesday as the Beermen look to a record-extending 29th title. 

Scores:

San Miguel 108 – Cruz 30, Boatwright 21, Fajardo 18, Enciso 15, Trollano 10, Perez 8, Lassiter 2, Tautuaa 2, Ross 2, Brondial 0.

Magnolia 98 – Bey 34, Jalalon 17, Sangalang 15, Lee 12, Dionisio 6, Abueva 5, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, Laput 2, Reavis 0, Tratter 0.

Quarters: 25-18, 48-41, 76-68, 108-98.

—JKC, GMA Integrated News

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