PHOENIX went into Tuesday’s game against San Miguel Beer determined to keep Charles Rhodes and June Mar Fajardo out from the paint where they could do the most harm.
The Fuel Masters relatively succeeded, but simply could not cope with the Beermen’s other threats.
With Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot waxing hot from the outside SMB made short work of Phoenix 115-96 and advanced to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lassiter scored a personal conference-high 26 points while Cabagnot added 20 as the two combined for 11 of the second seed Beermen’s 16 triples that made sure their win-once advantage over the seventh-ranked Fuel Masters did not go to waste.
With Ronald Tubid adding three treys and 14 points, the Philippine Cup titlist managed to withstand a relatively low-scoring night from Rhodes, who was held to a PBA-low 14 points, and Fajardo, who only notched 15.
With the win SMB arranged a best-of-five semifinal meeting with the winner of the Star-Rain or Shine pairing. – PBA
SMB 115 – Lassiter 26, Cabagnot 20, Fajardo 15, Rhodes 14, Tubid 14, Ross 11, Santos 8, Espinas 4, McCarthy 3, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0
PHOENIX 96 – McKay 20, Jazul 14, Intal 12, Alolino 11, Wright 9, Baguio 7, Eriobu 6, J. Wilson 6, Miranda 4, Dehesa 3, Hayes 2, Lanete 2, Torres 0, Borboran 0, W.Wilson 0, Kramer 0
Quarterscores: 28-21, 57-37, 88-69, 115-96.