SMB Dominates NLEX, Secures Top 3 Spot, and Sends Road Warriors rolling to No. 6
The San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA Governors’ Cup had far-reaching consequences for both teams. Despite the absence of their main player, June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen, who had been struggling in recent games, were able to bounce back and finish in the top three in the tournament’s elimination stage. It gave them a twice-to-beat advantage in the tournament’s quarterfinals and a substantial advantage over their opponents.
After a dismal showing in Japan’s East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week, the Beermen had just returned from a 24-day hiatus. They hoped to make a comeback and return to winning ways in the PBA. The squad got out to a fast start and never looked back, courtesy of the efforts of Cameron Clark and CJ Perez, who scored 45 and 23 points, respectively.
Clark, in particular, produced a monster double-double of 45 points and 17 rebounds, filling in for Fajardo, who was sidelined with an MCL injury. Jericho Cruz and Allyn Bulanadi also chipped in with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Despite a late rally by the Road Warriors to pull within five points in the last minutes, the Beermen held on to win.
After defeating the Road Warriors, the Beermen had a chance to achieve a top-two position if they could win their last elimination round game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. The Beermen were excited to capitalize on this opportunity and extend their winning streak.
The loss demoted the NLEX Road Warriors from fourth to sixth place in the rankings. They were tied with the Meralco Bolts and Magnolia Hotshots. However, the Bolts were ranked fourth, the Hotshots fifth, and the Road Warriors sixth when the quotient tiebreak was applied.
Despite the loss, Wayne Selden Jr. and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser led the Road Warriors with 32 and 29 points, respectively. The club must reorganize and prepare for their quarterfinal battle against the Magnolia Hotshots, who have a two-game winning streak.
Therefore, the San Miguel Beermen’s PBA Governors’ Cup victory over the NLEX Road Warriors was crucial for both teams. The Beermen secured a top-three finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, while the Road Warriors fell in the standings and now have to compete for a berth in the tournament. The Beermen will now want to keep winning and make a serious run for the championship.