San Miguel storms back to take 2-0 lead vs Phoenix
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," he said. "We should prepare hard for the third game."
Romeo had 14 points, Alex Cabagnot and Von Pessumal chipped in 8 points apiece while Chris Ross and Arwind Santos added 7 points each in the win that saw their teammate Christian Standhardinger tossed out.
Standhardinger was whistled for a disqualifying foul for an inadvertent hit on Calvin Abueva's face with 6 minutes left in the first half. He finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds in 9 minutes of play.
Abueva paced the Fuel Masters with team-highs of 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks but committed 7 turnovers and fouled out with a minute left to play.
Matthew Wright delivered 13 points while Justin Chua, RJ Jazul and Jason Perkins chimed in 12 points each in the losing effort.
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.