SAN Miguel Beer displayed its own version of never-say-die, pulling off a 104-102 escape act over Barangay Ginebra in overtime to take a 2-0 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Macio Lassiter again came to the rescue, scoring the game-winning putback to complete SMB’s comeback from 15 points down in regulation capped by Arwind Santos' game-tying three-pointer.
The Gin Kings had a handful of chances to finish off the Beermen both in regulation and in extra session, only to squander them to go two games down instead of putting the series best-of-seven series on level terms.
“This game is tsamba,” SMB coach Leo Austria insisted. “We thought we were losing, but the pride and experience of the team, they didn’t want to lose.”
Game Three is on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen have Lassiter to thank for as the SMB sniper scored his team’s last six points to erase a four-point deficit with a little over a minute left in overtime, capping his one-man run by tipping in June Mar Fajardo’s missed layup with three seconds left.
Lassiter finished with 25 points, highlighted by four triples, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals in almost 46 minutes
Limited to just nine points in the series opener, Fajardo went more aggressive as he fired a game-high 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting, missing a 30-20 by just one rebound, and completing his solid effort with two assists, two blocks, and one steal in 49 minutes.
The result spoiled the breakout performance of Prince Caperal, who held his own against Fajardo and registered a career-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, eight boards, three assists, and one block in almost 32 minutes as a starter for Ginebra.
Japeth Aguilar led the Gin Kings with 28 points, seven boards, five assists, two blocks, and one steal that went for naught.
Joe Devance hit a three-pointer that put Ginebra up, 102-98, with 1:02 to go, before Lassiter took over.
SMB 104 – Fajardo 33, Lassiter 25, Ross 13, Cabagnot 13, Santos 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Heruela 2, Pessumal 0, Espinas 0, De Ocampo 0
GINEBRA 102 – Aguilar J. 28, Caperal 26, Devance 11, Thompson 10, Cruz 10, Tenorio 8, Mercado 7, Mariano 2
Quarterscores: 25-30; 42-55; 70-73; 95-95 (Reg); 104-102 (OT)