Herndon provides spark as SMB outguns NorthPort

Published July 2, 2022, 7:45 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Robbie Herndon broke out of his personal slump and unloaded a career-high outing as San Miguel outgunned NorthPort, 122-106, in their offensive showdown in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, July 2.

Robbie Herndon (PBA Images)

What was expected to be a grind out affair after the Batang Pier held their ground against the offensive storm of the Beermen in the first three quarters turned into a massacre in the final frame as Herndon and the rest of SMB shifted to high gear and left NorthPort in the dust for its sixth win in seven games.

Herndon, after only averaging close to a single point per outing in his first four games with the Beermen, exploded for career-best 21 points built on five triples while June Mar Fajardo posted 21 markers and nine boards.

Marcio Lassiter added 18 while CJ Perez and Paul Zamar chipped in 17 and 15 points respectively.

“Every game when I was not able to give him some ample time, I told him to just be patient and your time will come and that was his time and I’m so happy with them not only for him, Paul Zamar also really played really well,” San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said of his shock troopers who showed the way in the huge fourth quarter explosion where SMB unloaded 40 points while limiting the NorthPort to just 24.

“I think what’s important here is that the players know their role. If they are from the bench they know what to do and I’m so happy that they perform well,” he added.

SMB couldn’t shake off NorthPort in the first three quarters as the Batang Pier, behind their stellar outside sniping, engaged the Beermen in a battle of offensive arsenal to force an 55-all affair at the half and an 82-all deadlock at the end of the third frame.

The Beermen though turned it on at the start of the final frame behind a quick 8-0 run courtesy of a triple from Herndon and five-straight points from Lassiter to take a 90-82 lead

Roi Sumang answered the call for the Batang Pier, scoring on a quick four-point spurt before SMB broke the game wide open with a 17-4 blast capped by a Jericho Cruz transition layup for a 107-90 lead with 5:43 left in the game.

Five players scored in twin-digits for the Batang Pier led by Arwind Santos and Sumang who finished with 25 and 21 points respectively, but were not enough as the Robert Bolick-less NorthPort absorbed its fifth straight defeat for a 2-5 record.

The loss also spoiled the party for Santos who became the 17th member of the PBA’s 10,000 point club.