SAN Miguel overcame a shaky start to beat TNT, 80-78, on Saturday in Game One of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
June Mar Fajardo took over late in the game on both ends of the floor as the Beermen overcame a 12-point deficit to take the series opener.
Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter had 15 points each along with Terrence Romeo in his first game against his former team since being traded to San Miguel during the offseason.
The five-time Most Valuable Player did the damage late in the game, scoring San Miguel’s final five points to overcame a 78-75 deficit.
RR Pogoy missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as TNT will now look to tie the best-of-three series on Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Prior to Fajardo taking over, Romeo sparked a rally in the third, scoring four straight points to cut the deficit to a point before San Miguel took a 72-69 lead in the contest.
Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy gave TNT a 78-75 before Fajardo came through in the clutch.
With San Miguel up by one point in the dying seconds, Fajardo also grabbed a crucial offensive rebound with 2.2 seconds left in the fourth, enabling him to split his two free throws for an 80-78 lead and erasing precious seconds for TNT.
“We thought we’ll be losing because of the bad start. Suwerte lang kami dito. We all know that TNT has to prove something and they want to beat us badly. I want to commend the players dahil they refused to lose,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
The loss spoiled Rosario’s game-high 23 points. Pogoy added 16 points for TNT, which was up, 22-10, early in the game following a 14-0 blast.
San Miguel 80 – Romeo 15, Lassiter 15, Fajardo 15, Cabagnot 12, Santos 8, Ross 6, Standhardinger 5, Pessumal 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Nabong 0.
TNT 78 – Rosario 23, Pogoy 16, Trollano 11, Williams 9, Castro 8, Taha 8, Reys 2, A. Semerad 1, Heruela 0, Carey, Washington 0, D. Semerad 0.
Quarters: 13-22; 39-46; 60-65; 80-78.