Wilkerson, Lassiter prove a handful for Phoenix as SMB closes in on twice-to-beat berth
Marcio Lassiter and Tyler Wilkerson fired up San Miguel's offense. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer shrugged off a strong start by Phoenix as it waltzed to a 121-109 victory on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to move on the verge of clinching a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Beermen fell into an early 19-point hole but regained their bearings in the second quarter before turning the game around in the second half on the way to their seventh win in 10 games.

Tyler Wilkerson, fresh from a 58-point performance, continued to sizzle with 40 markers along with 19 rebounds, while Marcio Lassiter waxed hot down the stretch for the Beermen, who wound up with a 3-8 win-loss record at the end of the Davao-based franchise’s first conference in the league.

The Fuel Masters appeared poised for an upset as they went off to hot start with a 25-6 lead, but it turned out to be false hopes as they went cold from there on to eventually absorb a third straight setback.

“They scared us in the first half,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “It’s a good lesson for us. I keep on telling them that whoever we face will really try their best to beat us for their pride.”

The Beermen did most of the work in the middle quarters, where they outscored the Fuel Masters, 65-46, to turn the game around before pulling away in the payoff period.

Alex Cabagnot fired 16 points, while Lassiter added 14 markers, including eight in the final frame and six on back-to-back triples that gave the Beermen their biggest lead at 115-100.

Kevinn Pinkney les the Fuel Masters with 38 points and 11 rebounds in just 30 minutes that went for naught.

The scores: 

SMB 121 – Wilkerson 40, Cabagnot 16, Lassiter 14, Fajardo 12, Espinas 12,  Ross 8, Santos 8, Heruela 4, Arana 3, David 2, Tubid 2, Lutz 0, Reyes 0, Semerad 0

PHOENIX 109 – Pinkney 38, Intal 14, Urbiztondo 10, Pennisi 8, Garcia 8, Monfort 6, Forrester 6, Lanete 4, Baracael 4, Wilson 3, Caperal 2, Miranda 2, Sorongon 2, Brondial 2, Knuttel 0

Quarterscores: 22-32, 54-55, 87-78, 121-109

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos