SAN Miguel Beer showed the stuff champions are made off as it held off Rain or Shine, 104-98, to stay alive in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Thursday night at the Philsports Arena.
The Beermen played without an import on short notice, but thrived in familiar adversity as they avoided a sweep in their best-of-five series.
Marcio Lassiter bounced back from his slump as he fired 30 points built around five three-points, conspiring with Alex Cabagnot who also found the mark from outside to lead the Beermen.
“I have to praise my players—my entire team,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “Their body language says that they really wanted to win even though we didn’t have an import.”
Game Four is on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Lassiter registered his third 30-point game and came one point shy of matching of career high, capping his resurgence with four straight points that gave the Beermen a five-point lead, enough to hold on to the victory.
Cabagnot was as splendid, adding 28 points, including 13 in the third period where the Beermen turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead entering the payoff period.
Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo were also instrumental in the balanced attack that showed in the absence of high-scoring, yet temperamental import Tyler Wilkerson.
Jericho Cruz nudged the E-Painters to within a point, 97-96 with a three-point a little less than two minutes left, but they came no closer as his career-high 25 points went for naught.
SMB 104 – Lassiter 30, Cabagnot 28, Santos 18, Fajardo 13, Espinas 5, De Ocampo 4, David 3, Ross 2, Arana 1, Heruela 0, Tubid 0
ROS 98 – Cruz 25, Lee 15, Ahanmisi 12, Quinahan 11, Chan 8, Almazan 7, Henderson-Niles 7, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Ponferada 4, Ibanes 0, Tiu 0
Quarterscores: 27-31, 51-53, 80-70, 104-98