Titleholder San Miguel Beer is back in stride heading to its last four games in the elims.
"The chemistry is there. That's our problem before because we couldn't practice with all the players hit by injuries. Slowly, we gained a good rhythm," said SMB coach Leo Austria shortly after a 113-92 rout of Magnolia Pambansang Manok that had them moving up to third place in the PBA Philippine Cup.
"The guys were focused maybe because they knew the importance of the game. Mahirap maghabol in the fight for the Top Two if we fell to 3-4," Austria also said.
Before a good Sunday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Beermen played true to form and pulled their first back-to-back victories in the tourney.
"Our last game against Blackwater gave us some momentum going to this game. And the guys were really focused, knowing Magnolia is also a champion team," said Austria.
Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo all exploded for at least 22 points each as the Beermen scored a follow-up to their 93-79 dumping of the Elite on Wednesday over at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
San Miguel improved to 4-3 while handing Magnolia a second loss in as many games.
The Beermen ripped the Hotshots apart behind a strong start and an equally strong finish.
They built an early 23-point spread at 37-14 and, after repeated rallies by the Hotshots, came through with a solid closing salvo for the emphatic victory.
Alas, they will take a long 25-day breather before going back into action against NLEX on March 8.
Santos was at his best since a bout with a bum stomach, erupting for 29 points, including seven three-pointers.
Romeo was at his finest so far in an SMB uniform, firing away 23 markers, including three treys.
Fajardo, meanwhile, did his job at the paint, piling up 22 markers on top of eight rebounds, three assists and one block. The 6-foot-10 behemoth, however, committed seven turnovers on Magnolia's constant double-teaming defense.
Alex Cabagnot contributed 11 markers and hit a personal milestone in tying Philip Cezar at eighth place in the all-time assist ladder with 3,130 each.(SB)
San Miguel 113 - Santos 29, Romeo 23, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 9, Ross 6, Tubid 3, Pessumal 3, Nabong 3, Mamaril 2, Zamar 2, Lanete 0, De Ocampo 0, Vigil 0.
Magnolia 92 - Sangalang 19, Lee 16, Dela Rosa 14, Brondial 12, Jalalon 11, Pascual 8, Simon 4, Calisaan 4, Abundo 2, Gamalinda 2, Barroca 0, Herndon 0, Melton 0, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 28-12, 51-42, 82-69, 113-92.