The Beermen bank on June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter in the endgame to move two wins away from reaching the Philippine Cup finals
Published 9:55 PM, April 15, 2019
Updated 9:56 PM, April 15, 2019
STRONG FINISH. June Mar Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen buck off a slow start to repeat on Phoenix. Photo from PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel battled back from a lethargic start before gutting it out in the endgame to edge Phoenix for a 2-0 lead in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Monday, April 15.
June Mar Fajardo put up 19 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks while Marcio Lassiter fired a game-high 24 points to power the Beermen to a come-from-behind 92-82 triumph in the best-of-seven affair.
Buried by as much as 12 points, San Miguel slowly chiseled away at Phoenix’s lead before knotting a score at 63-all heading into the final frame.
It was a dogfight in the payoff period with both teams trading buckets until Lassiter gave the Beermen an 84-80 lead with a resounding three-pointer with two minutes left.
Fajardo then extended San Miguel’s lead with a pair of free throws as Lassiter scored another 4 straight points to seal the win.
Although now two wins away from reaching the finals, Beermen head coach Leo Austria does not want his wards to relax.
“0-2 is not assurance to win the series. We should play hard,” he said.
Calvin Abueva paced the Fuel Masters with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks but committed 7 turnovers and fouled out with a minute left to play.
Both teams will get a week of break before tangling again in Game 3 on Sunday, April 21, at the same venue.
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 82 – Abueva 16, Wright 13, Perkins 12, Chua 12, Jazul 12, Mallari 8, Intal 4, Marcelo 2, Kramer 2, Mendoza 1.
Quarters: 13-21, 37-46, 63-63, 92-82.