PETRON Blaze handcuffed Barako Bull’s outside snipers in the final period to take a momentum-building 101-88 victory at the start of their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinal series on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Down by as many as 12 points in the first three quarters, Petron starved Barako Bull on the defensive end by effectively stopping three-point gunners like Ronjay Buenafe, Mick Pennisi and Willie Miller from doing the damage from beyond the arc in the last quarter.
Petron also found its touch offensive behind Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz and Alex Cabagnot hitting the outside baskets that enabled the Boosters to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Boosters, seeded third in the playoffs, can close out their brief series with a victory on Friday and advance to the semifinals and face the winner of the Rain or Shine-Globalport quarterfinal match.
“I just want to give a lot of credit to the Barako Bull team. They showed up today. They are very well-coached. They were hitting a lot of tough shots especially in the first half,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla.
“But we just shot the ball well in the second half.”
Abanilla gave credit to the 26-year-old Lassiter, who arrived from the US on the morning of the match but played through jetlag after attending the wake of his grandmother.
“Marcio just planed in from the States and gave us a very good contribution. We sympathize with him when he went home from the US.”
Lassiter, the former Smart Gilas mainstay, was at his best in the fourth quarter, firing three triples to preside over Petron’s murderous 25-4 bomb.
By the time the sweet-shooting Lassiter hit his third three-point shot in the fourth period, Petron was already in full command, 96-82 heading into the final three minutes of the match.
Lassiter, Cabagnot and Arwind Santos scored 17 points each to lead the Boosters. June Mar Fajardo registered his 11th double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while adding two blocks in 37 minutes of play.
Willie Miller and Ronjay Buenafe led the Energy with 17 points apiece, but were a combined five points in the final period.
Barako Bull needs to win on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena to forge a deciding Game Three on Sunday.
PETRON 101 - Lassiter 17, Cabagnot 17, Santos 17, Fajardo 15, Lutz 14, Ross 10, Tubid 6, Lanete 4, Taha 1, Duncil 0, Kramer 0.
BARAKO 88 - Miller 17, Buenafe 17, Intal 15, Pena 9, Miranda 9, Wilson 8, Jensen 5, Maierhofer 3, Pennisi 3, Macapagal 2, Lastimosa 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarterscores: 20-22, 42-49, 67-73, 101-88