Defending champion San Miguel recovered from a shaky start to thwart bitter rival TNT 80-78 in the opener of their best-of-three quarterfinal series, Saturday night at the MOA Arena.
June Mar Fajardo took charge late in the game as the Beermen completed the fightback from 12 points down to seal the victory.
Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter scored 15 points apiece together with Terrence Romeo who played his first game against the team that traded him prior to the start of the season.
The five-time league MVP scored 5 straight points, including 2 crucial putbacks, to put his team on top for good after being down 75-78 in the closing minutes of the game.
Romeo, for his part, was on the forefront of a second-half rally that set the stage for a nip-and-tuck final period.
“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 Beermen coach Leo Austria.
Fajardo also had 10 rebounds and 4 blocks while Alex Cabagnot was the fourth Beermen who finished in double figures with 12 points
San Miguel 80 – Lassiter 15, Fajardo 15, Romeo 15, Cabagnot 12, Santos 8, Ross 6, Standahrdinger 5, Rosser 2, Pessumal 2, Nabong 0.
TNT 78 – Rosario 23, Pogoy 16, Trollano 11, Williams 9, Taha 8, Castro 8, Reyes 2, A. Semerad 1, Carey 0, Heruela 0, D. Semerad 0, Washington 0.
Quarterscores: 13-22, 39-46, 60-65, 80-78.