SMB deals Ginebra a Game 4 beating to move on verge of return to PBA Finals
Marcio Lassiter delivered the biggest hits for the Beermen. Marlo Cueto

SAN Miguel Beer brought back its A-Game as it outclassed Barangay Ginebra, 102-81, to move on the verge of a return trip to the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Displaying their B game last Tuesday when they dropped their first game in the series, the Beermen left nothing to chance in Game Four, going out with guns blazing then sustaining their hot shooting until the final buzzer to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Marcio Lassiter illustrated the accurate shooting, firing five triples on the way to a team-high 23 points to lead six Beermen in double figures.

“Magandang regalo sa akin,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Wednesday. “Sabi nila kapag may birthday nasa ’yo ang swerte.”

“Only one thing ang masasabi ko dito sa game na ito: energy ang big factor,” he added. “We were able to negate whatever they want because of the energy, and we're able to run our game plan by getting some of their big men into foul trouble.”

The Beermen can finish off the Gin Kings in Game Five of the best-of-seven on Saturday night at Cuneta Astrodome.

The Beermen couldn’t seem to miss all-game long as they made 42 of their 81 shots for a blistering 51.9 percent shooting, including 12 of 25 from beyond the arc for a 48-percent clip.

Alex Cabagnot was among those who hit their marks as he made eight of his 13 shots, including three treys, on the way to scoring 19 points, along with eight assists, five steals, and three boards as he showed he’s recovered from a plantar fasciitis injury that kept him out for a part of the eliminations.

Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo put up double-doubles with the former tallying 16 points and 10 boards, and the latter chipping in 14 points and 13 caroms, while Matt Ganuelas-Rosser missed a double-double by just one assist with 12 points, and nine assists, along with five boards, and one steal.

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Chris Ross, nursing a thigh injury, still made the most of limited action as he chipped in 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, two boards, and two assists in less than nine minutes of play.

Lassiter knocked down back-to-back triples that put the Beermen up, 81-53, with a little less than three minutes left in the third quarter, before Von Pessumal joined the three-point-shooting party in the next play to give them their biggest lead at 29 points.

The result spoiled the solid showing of Japeth Aguilar, who put up a game-high 31 points, 13 boards, and four steals in 38 minutes, while LA Tenorio added 20 points, three assists, two steals, and one board that went for naught for the Gin Kings, who came no closer than 18 points in the final frame.

The scores:

SMB 102 — Lassiter 23, Cabagnot 19, Santos 16, Fajardo 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 12, Ross 11, Espinas 4, Pessumal 3, Agovida 0, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0, Lanete 0, Vigil 0

GINEBRA 81 — J. Aguilar 31, Tenorio 20, Cruz 9, Mercado 5, Caguioa 3, Caperal 3, Ferrer 3, Devance 2, Manuel 2, Mariano 2, Thompson 1, R. Aguilar 0

Quarterscores: 32-22, 58-41, 84-58, 102-81

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