San Miguel displayed once more the form that made the them four-time defending champions by dispatching the top-seeded Phoenix Pulse in Game 2, 92-82, to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven semifinal series, Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Marcio Lassiter presided over the Beermen’s vaunted finishing kick by scoring 9 of his game-high 24 points in the pivotal fourth quarter including a big time triple which gave his team a more comfortable 4-point edge after the Fuel Masters were able to cut it down to a solitary point.
San Miguel trailed by as much as 12 in the early goings of the highly physical match that saw Christian Standhardinger get ejected after being called for a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 (FFP2) against Calvin Abueva.
“We are lucky we were able to escape this game as a winner. We know from the start, it will be a hard game for us because we were expecting them to play really hard,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.
“It was very evident in the first half. Everything that we do, they know how to stop us and disrupt our offense. Fortunately, my players refused to lose. They know the importance of this game,” the 61-year old mentor from Sariaya, Quezon added.
June Mar Fajardo bounced back from a subpar production in Game 1 to finish with a double-double of 19 points and 18 boards to go along with 4 assists and 3 blocks.
Terrence Romeo also had a big night as the flashy guard poured in 8 of his 14 points in the fiery 16-6 wind-up by the Beermen to close the game.
Abueva led the Fuel Masters with 16 points and 10 rebounds but also had 7 turnovers as his efforts weren’t enough to give his team a breakthrough win in the semis.
San Miguel 92 – Lassiter 24, Fajardo 19, Romeo 14, Cabagnot 8, Pessumal 8, Santos 7, Ross 7, Tubid 3, Standhardinger 2, Rosser 0, Nabong 0,
Phoenix Pulse 82 – Abueva 16, Wright 13, Perkins 12, Chua 12, Jazul 12, Mallari 8, Intal 4, Marcelo 2, Kramer 2, Mendoza 1.
Quarterscores: 13-21, 37-46, 63-63, 92-82.