IT looked like the same script, until San Miguel Beer made sure the ending was different.
SMB averted a meltdown this time as it held off Barangay Ginebra, 95-92, to tie their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series at one game apiece on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen saw the Gin Kings make a comeback reminiscent of their Game One win, but proved steadier this time to hang on in Game Two.
Elijah Millsap preserved the result with a slam off a broken play after a timeout, negating LA Tenorio’s three-pointer that had pulled the Gin Kings to within one in the previous possession.
Millsap’s heroics capped off another solid performance that saw the SMB import register 25 points, nine boards, four assists, one steal, and one block in almost 45 minutes of play.
June Mar Fajardo shrugged off a cut over his right eye off friendly fire as he hauled down 23 boards, scored 18 points, while adding two blocks and one assist in 33 minutes.
“I salute the players for their composure,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “They know urgent matter today dahil we want to win.”
The sister squads seek to move on the verge of a place in the finals with a win in Game Three on Friday night also at the Big Dome.
The Beermen wasted another sizeable lead – 16 points this time – as the Gin Kings launched a fightback that saw them erase the deficit and even take the lead momentarily.
Sticking to a tight eight-man rotation in the series opener, Austria used 10 players this time and it benefited them as they stayed fresh with only Millsap playing over 40 minutes and the other four starters in their usual 30s.
While Tenorio recovered with 22 points and seven assists, it was Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee’s turn to have an off night as he was held to just 18 points on 16 attempts after dropping 39 markers in Game One.
SMB 95 – Millsap 25, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 13, Tubid 10, Lassiter 8, Ross 8, Santos 7, De Ocampo 6, Reyes 0, Semerad 0
GIN 92 – Tenorio 22, Brownlee 18, Caguioa 11, Mercado 11, Mariano 10, Aguilar 9, Thompson 7, Cruz 4, Devance 0, Marcelo 0
Quarterscores: 24-18, 51-40, 72-71, 95-92