By Vivem Soriano
Eagle News Service
The San Miguel Beermen did not let their lead wither away this time despite another comeback attempt by the Magnolia Pambansang Manok to cruise to a series tying 92-77 win in Game 2 of the Philippine Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Sunday night.
Magnolia dashed to an early 8-2 lead to start the game but San Miguel managed to steady their defense to take a 19-17 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
SMB dominated the 2nd quarter, connecting with five straight 3-pointers from downtown courtesy of Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and Brian Heruela as the Beermen went into halftime with a 48-35 lead.
San Miguel continued to step on the gas, leading by as much as 21 points during the 3rd quarter. The Beermen were up 75-57 at the end of the 3rd.
But Magnolia came out firing in the 4th quarter, holding the Beermen scoreless in the first five minutes of the final quarter and torching San Miguel with a massive 11-0 run to cut the deficit to down to 7, 68-75.
But San Miguel managed to hold on to their lead this time, with Santos connecting from downtown at the 6:57 mark to end SMB’s scoring drought. The Beermen then went off with a 10-0 run of their own to finally put away the game out of Magnolia’s reach.
Santos led the Beermen with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Marcio Lassiter connected with 4 shots from downtown to finish with 16 points. Alex Cabagnot, had 13 points, 5 boards and 8 dimes while Chris Ross, returning to the starting lineup last night after coming off the bench the last few games due to a thigh injury, registered just 5 points but dished out a game-high 10 assists. Center June Mar Fajardo added 12 points, 13 boards and 3 blocked shots.
The SMB reserves came to back to life in Game 2 with 20 points after being outscored by Magnolia 47-1 in Game 1. Brian Heruela led the Beermen bench mob with 10 points.
San Miguel also waxed out from beyond the arc in Game 2 with 13 3-pointers compared to Magnolia who hit just 7 out of 23 from downtown.
Mark Barroca led Magnolia with 18 points. Paul Lee scored 13 but shot just 5 out of 13 from the field. Ian Sangalang was held to just 11 points.
The PBA Philippine Cup Finals will resume after the holidays with Game 3 to be played on Sunday, April 1 at the Araneta Coliseum. Tip-off will be at 6:30 PM.
SMB 92 — Santos 24, Lassiter 16, Cabagnot 15, Fajardo 12, Heruela 10, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Ross 5, Mamaril 4, De Ocampo 0, Vigil 0
MAGNOLIA 77 — Barroca 18, Lee 13, Sangalang 11, Dela Rosa 7, Ramos 7, Jalalon 6, Pascual 4, Reavis 4, Brondial 3, Herndon 2, Simon 2, Mendoza 0
Quarterscores: 19-17, 48-35, 75-57, 92-77