Beermen flex depth to level Finals series at 1-1

San Miguel defeated defending champion TNT, 109-100, in Game 2 of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup Finals, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

CJ Perez scored 23 while Vic Manuel came off the bench and added 20 as the Beermen bounced back from a heartbreaking loss in Game 1 to even the best-of-seven series at 1-game apiece.

Game 3 is set on Friday, August 26, 5:45pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“Noong Game 1 nag-struggle ako sa opensa ko, na-motivate ako. Pinagtrabahuhan ko ito ngayon para makuha tong panalo na ito. Credit din sa teammates ko total team effort ang ginawa namin,” said Manuel during the post-game press conference with the best player and winning coach.

Up by just 3 points, 82-79, going into the payoff period, the Leo Austria-mentored squad turned a close game into lopsided contest with a 13-1 opening salvo to establish the game’s biggest lead at 15, 95-80. Unlike the previous game, however, there was no collapse this time as the Beermen held on to the sizeable lead up until the final buzzer.

“Pasalamat kami hindi kami naka-2-0. Pag naka 2-0 mahirap nang makabawi,” said Austria.

“Sinasabi ko sa kanila lagi kaming lamang pagdating ng third quarter medyo relaxed kami. Nawawala yung killer instinct, mabuti na lang ngayon ‘yung pride ng players nasundot ng kaunti. From start to finish hindi sila bumitaw,” added the 8-time PBA champion coach.

Marcio Lassiter rebounded from a pedestrian showing in Game 1 and scored 19 points with 9 coming from beyond the arc. The 35-year old Fil-Am added 6 boards, an assist and a steal to his tally.

June Mar Fajardo, still the leading contender for the BPC award, had 13 points, 8 boards, 4 assists and 2 blocks while Jericho Cruz and Moala Tautuaa chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

RR Pogoy paced the Tropang Giga with 28 points while Game 1 hero Jayson Castro added 15.

The flagship team of the MVP group missed the services of head coach Chot Reyes who is currently in Lebanon for Gilas Pilipinas’ game against the Cedars in the 4th window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.

The scores:

San Miguel 109 – Perez 23, Manuel 20, Lassiter 19, Fajardo 13, Cruz 12, Tautuaa 11, Brondial 7, Ross 4, Enciso 0, Zamar 0.

TNT 100 – Pogoy 28, Castro 15, Montalbo 14, Rosario 11, K.Williams 10, M. Williams 7, Erram 7, Reyes 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Khobuntin 2, Marcelo 0.

Quarterscores: 30-28, 51-51, 82-79, 109-100.

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