Perez notches first career triple-double as SMB blasts Converge

Published June 26, 2022, 9:46 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

CJ Perez notched his first career triple-double as San Miguel blew past Converge 111-92 to get back on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday, June 26.

CJ Perez (PBA Images)

After being limited to their lowest output this season in its loss to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, the Beermen put up a masterful performance on the offensive end to build a sizeable margin in the first half which they never relinquished until the final buzzer and improved to a 4-1 record in the standings.

At the forefront of SMB’s offensive barrage was Perez who filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists while backcourt running mate Jericho Cruz unloaded 18 of his 21 total output in the first two quarters off the bench.

June Mar Fajardo, who could only muster six points against the Kings, bounced back with 18 points which also went with 16 rebounds and three blocks.

“I told them we have to bounce back hard against this team. We know na Converge hindi pwedeng biruin makikita naman natin na some of the future stars ay nasa sa kanila,” said Beermen head coach Leo Austria.

“It’s a great motivation mga nakikita namin na potential sa kanila an if we will make a good game today pwede namin dalhin in our next few games kasi sunud-sunod ang games namin,” he added.

A testament to that young talent Austria was pointing out was the performance from Allyn Bulanadi who carried the fight for the FiberXers with a breakout game of 22 points spiked by five triples.

However, it was still not enough for Converge which fell behind by as many as 31-points – a lead that proved to be insurmountable especially in front of the hot-shooting Beermen.

Leading only by eight early in the second quarter, the Beermen caught fire from the distance with Cruz and Marcio Lassiter drilling back-to-back treys. The rest of SMB players followed suit with Fajardo even nailing a triple of his own during the 14-0 surge that pushed the lead to 22, 44-22.

And if that was still not enough, the Beermen embarked on another 13-2 spurt to establish a 57-26 advantage. The FiberXers tried to mount a comeback in the second half but they just couldn’t push past the 19-point barrier as SMB simply had answers to every Converge run.