San Miguel relied on a fourth quarter explosion to score its third straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup, beating TNT, 88-76, at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City on Saturday night.
The Beermen started out flat, and the KaTropa quickly opened a 12-point lead, 24-12, late in the first quarter.
SMB picked up the pace in the second quarter and limited TNT to only 12 points and cut the lead to one, 36-35, by halftime.
The KaTropa tried to pull away again in the third quarter by opening another eight-point cushion, 59-51, but the Beermen continued its rally to close the period and finally completed the comeback in the fourth, outscoring the KaTropa, 30-15.
"We're so happy with this win against Talk 'n Text because we consider Talk 'n Text as a team to beat in this conference," said Coach Leo Austria after the win.
Junemar Fajardo shot 8-of-11 from the field for 20 points with six rebounds, three blocks, and one steal for SMB, which remained the only unbeaten team so far in the conference.
Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos each added 15 points.
Troy Rosario led TNT, which fell to 1-2, with 15 markers, 13 boards, one dime, one rejection, and one swipe.
Meanwhile, Paul Lee was never caught up with his highly-anticipated showdown with rookie Kiefer Ravena as the veteran guard went through with business in Magnolia's 105-94 demolition of NLEX last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee fired 12 of his team-high 21 points in a fiery third quarter when the Pambansang Manok pulled away for good on the way to clinching their first back-to-back wins for the season-opening meet.
Ravena finished with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting, had four rebounds, and five assists, but not enough to prevent the Road Warriors from absorbing their second straight loss for an even 2-2 record.
JR Quinahan and Kevin Alas were the only other players to finish in double figures for NLEX with 22, and 13 points, respectively. The Road Warriors were held to just 42 percent shooting (37-of-88).
The Hotshots led by as many as 71-48 in the third period, although the Road Warriors managed to cut the deficit to as low as nine several times in the fourth.
But Rome dela Rosa and sophomore Jio Jalalon steadied the ship for Magnolia, scoring seven each in the payoff period to weather the Road Warriors' late comeback.
In the other game, Alaska Aces went on a sizzling third quarter run to take the fight out of Picanto, 102-66, as they put together their first winning streak in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Their patented pressing defense in full display during that stretch, the Aces then went to rookie Jeron Teng on the offensive end as they outscored the Picanto, 36-5, entering the final period. The lead ballooned to its biggest at 86-46.
The scoring run stretched a close five-point Alaska lead at the half to 75-39, as the Aces coasted to their second straight win and even their record at 2-2.
The Picanto suffered their third straight blowout game and fourth in the conference, where they remained as the only team to break into the win column. Overall, the franchise has lost 16 straight games dating back to last season's Commissioner's Cup, the longest losing streak in the league since Ginebra - under former playing-coach Robert Jaworski - lost 17 straight games in the 1995 Commissioner's Cup.*PNA/pba.com
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