MANILA, Philippines (2ND UPDATE) – The San Miguel Beermen reasserted their mastery of the Magnolia Hotshots with a convincing 111-87 victory in Game 3 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum Sunday, April 1.
San Miguel, which lost big leads in the previous two games, showed composure late this time as it used a 17-3 run in the payoff period for a commanding 92-71 lead.
Magnolia would narrow the gap to 17, 77-94, but the Beermen kept their foot on the pedal with a 7-0 blitz to bring their advantage back to 21, 101-77.
The Beermen, who were in the front seat from the get-go, take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 duel following their 92-77 Game 2 rout of the Hotshots last March 25.
Marcio Lassiter buried 5 of his 9 triples en route to 24 points for the Beermen on top of 6 rebounds and 5 steals and June Mar Fajardo frolicked in the paint with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
Arwind Santos was magnificent on both ends of the floor for San Miguel, tallying 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals while Chris Ross and Brian Heruela chipped in 14 and 11 points, respectively.
"This is only the second win, we need to win another two games for us to be declared the champions and there are a lot of things that may happen in the next few games dahil (because) they don't want to be down by 1-3, so it's hard to recover," said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
"Although the possibility is still there, if my players really want to win, wala akong magagawa (I cannot do anything about it). This is their show."
Mark Barroca had 22 points and 3 steals and Paul Lee finished with 15 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds but those were not enough for the Hotshots to avoid absorbing back-to-back losses.
Aldrech Ramos and PJ Simon chalked up 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Rafi Reavis pulled down 14 rebounds in the loss.
Game 4 of the best-of-7 duel is on Wednesday, April 4, at the same venue.
San Miguel (111): Lassiter 24, Fajardo 21, Ross 14, Santos 14, Heruela 11, Espinas 9, Cabagnot 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Pessumal 4, Semerad 2, Vigil 2, Lanete 0, Mamaril 0.
Magnolia (87): Barroca 22, Lee 15, Ramos 12, Simon 10, Dela Rosa 6, Gamalinda 6, Jalalon 6, Sangalang 6, Brondial 0, Herndon 0, Mendoza 0, Pascual 0
Quarter scores: 29-22, 50-49, 75-68, 111-87
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.