MANILA - San Miguel Beermen weathered a mini late rally from Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters to reclaim the solo top spot in the PBA Philippine Cup standings after a 99-93 win on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Beermen showed their class for the most part of the tight contest even as they eventually opened an 11-point lead, 95-84, with 2:20 to play.
The Elasto Painters, however, banked on six straight free throws to cut the lead down to five, 95-90, with 1:19 left.
They even had a chance to trim it further after Andrei Caracut stole the ball from Simon Enciso, but Rey Nambatac was whistled for a dribbling violation, and the Beermen scored back-to-back layups to ice the game.
CJ Perez led SMB, now at 5-1, with 21 points, four rebounds, five assists, and a steal, while Marcio Lassiter and Rodney Brondial added 16 points each.
June Mar Fajardo chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds plus a career-high seven assists and three blocks.
Jewel Ponferada made 20 points, four rebounds, four assists, one block, and one steal for ROS, which fell to 1-5.
In the first game, TNT kept in step on the leaderboard with a 117-112 win over skidding NorthPort.
Mikey Williams caught fire anew with 27 points, 18 in the first half, alongside seven rebounds to help the Tropang Giga get past the Batang Pier, who still showed might despite losing Robert Bolick to an ankle injury early on.
RR Pogoy added 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Poy Erram chipped in 17 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one steal off the bench for TNT, which moved up to 6-2 in the standings.
Jamie Malonzo fired 27 points with eight rebounds, four steals, and three blocks, while Roi Sumang took charge for Bolick's absence and added 24 points, four rebounds, and 10 assists for NorthPort, which fell to 2-4. (PNA)