SAN Miguel Beer went on target like cupid, breaking TNT KaTropa’s heart on Valentine’s Day as it cruised to a 97-86 victory on Tuesday night to tie their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at two games apiece.
Chris Ross put on an outside shooting display reminiscent of Game Seven of the last all-Filipino conference against Alaska as the defensive lynchpin knocked down five triples on the way to a career-high 31 points.
June Mar Fajardo added 15 points and 15 boards for the Beermen, who atoned for rare back-to-back losses to reduce the best-of-seven series into a first-to-win-two affair.
“I have to commend my players dahil nagkaroon sila ng sense of urgency,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “Alam nila ang sitwasyon namin, especially Chris Ross. He was really focused.”
Game Five is on Thursday at the Big Dome.
Ross found the outside touch in the middle quarters where he scattered 26 of his output and drained all his shots from beyond the arc, including four in the third quarter where the Beermen established their biggest lead at 22.
Marcio Lassiter turned into a facilitator as he dished out 10 assists, while also going on target from distance with two treys, comprising half of his total output, the same as Alex Cabagnot.
Larry Fonacier also found the mark from long range for the Texters with three treys en route to a team-high 15 points in 29 minutes that went for naught.
Roger Pogoy, who was coming off a career-high 22-point performance in Game Three, was held scoreless in the first three quarters before scoring all his nine points in garbage time.
SMB 97 – Ross 31, Fajardo 15, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 12, Espinas 10, Garcia 8, Santos 7, Tubid 2, Y. De Ocampo 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0
TNT 86 – Fonacier 15, Castro 13, Tautuaa 12, Williams 10, Pogoy 9, Rosario 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, R. De Ocampo 4, Rosales 4, Carey 4, Reyes 4, Seigle 2, Sumalinog 0
Quarterscores: 18-19, 44-32, 76-58, 97-86