Jul 02, 2022

SMB pulls away past NorthPort, improves to 6-1 record to assume solo lead

SAN Miguel Beer leaned on a Robbie Herndon-led fourth-quarter bombardment to run away with a 122-106 romp over NorthPort and take solo leadership in the PBA Philippine Cup Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A pre-season trade acquisition from Converge, Herndon rifled in 11 of his 21 big points in the final canto to spark a 40-24 exchange that cleared the path to the Beermen's third straight win and 6-1 overall.

Herndon joined forces with fellow gunner Marcio Lassiter and backup playmaker Paul Zamar in towing SMB to a 111-90 tear after being dragged into an 82-82 stalemate through three quarters.

Lassiter finished with 18 and Zamar 15 to complement the usual production of June Mar Fajardo (21-9-3), CJ Perez (17-9-12) and Jericho Cruz (12) in the 16-point disposal of a Robert Bolick-less NorthPort crew that has now lost five straight after a 2-0 start.

The Beermen spoiled the career milestone achieved by Batang Pier veteran Arwind Santos, who with 25 markers became only the 17th player in PBA history to score 10,000 points.

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Roi Sumang added 20 for NorthPort, filling in for Bolick who was sidelined by the ankle injury he sustained in their loss to TNT last Wednesday.

It was Herndon's best game since joining SMB.

"I came to the team a little late so I had to fast-track the process of getting accustomed to my new teammates and the system. Nothing comes overnight so I just stayed patient, stayed positive. I knew eventually I'll be able to play my game for SMB," said Herndon.

And what a game it was.

Herndon scored 21 in just close to 20 minutes of action, highlighting his stellar outing with a 5-of-10 clip from beyond the arc.

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The Beermen trailed by nine early in the second, 25-34, but quickly charged back with a 7-0 assault ignited by Zamar. (OL)

The Scores:

San Miguel Beer 122 - Herndon 21, Fajardo 21, Lassiter 18, Perez 17, Zamar 15, Cruz 12, Enciso 7, Brondial 6, Faundo 3, Pessumal 2, Canete 0.

NorthPort 106 - Santos 25, Sumang 20, Calma 14, Balanza 12, Malonzo 10, Dela Cruz 8, Ayaay 8, Javier 4, Ferrer 3, Apacible 2, Vigil 0, Subido 0.

Quarters: 25-29, 55-55, 82-82, 122-106.