San Miguel equalizes PBA Finals series with Meralco after Game 4 win

June Mar Fajardo’s dominant night led San Miguel to a Game 4 win (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The San Miguel Beermen avoided a 1-3 hole after pulling off a convincing Game 4 win, 111-101, to level their PBA Philippine Cup Finals series with the Meralco Bolts at 2-2 on June 12, 2024, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

San Miguel had their best outing in the finals so far after reaching the 100-point mark, their best scoring output through the four games.

Just like what San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent said previously, they have to return to their usual offensive groove if they want to get back into the series.

Several days after, the powerhouse San Miguel squad executed their game plan to perfection and ran their signature high-octane scoring sets as early as the opening quarter.

With the waxing hot start from 10-time Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen quickly jumped to a sizable 23-9 lead and were poised for a one-sided beating.

However, Meralco once again came back and received a performance for the ages from gunner Chris Newsome who dropped 40 points, slicing and dicing through the San Miguel interior while also hitting his perimeter jumpers at will.

Newsome’s response steered Meralco back into the ball game as the club stayed within striking distance to survive the early San Miguel onslaught.

From a 23-9 deficit, Meralco came roaring back and got to within a deuce, 71-69, after Newsome hit a huge three-pointer midway through the third frame.

Just when Meralco thought they could replicate their second-half performance in games 1 and 3, the Beermen found a new set of energizers from the bench as the duo of Terrence Romeo and Vic Manuel were finally activated.

The 1-2 veteran punch provided timely baskets for San Miguel when Meralco hosted a scoring run and acted like fire extinguishers.

In the fourth, San Miguel just pounced their way into the paint, led by Fajardo who finally got his usual touches down the post off a CJ Perez pick-and-roll play.

With San Miguel only clinging to a six-point lead with 1:53 remaining in the game, Fajardo converted the early exclamation point after finishing a layup in the shaded lane that pushed their lead back to eight points, 105-97.

Free throws from Perez and Chris Ross in the final minute of the game then put the final nail in the coffin for the Bolts.

Fajardo spearheaded the San Miguel attack with a season-high 28-point performance to go alongside 13 big rebounds.

Meanwhile, Perez added 22 points, Marcio Lassiter chipped in 18 markers, while the ex-factors, Manuel and Romeo, delivered eight and seven points, respectively.

Both squads will gun for the series lead on June 14, 2024, when they meet again for Game 5 of the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup Finals.