Perez, Lassiter drain clutch threes as Beermen escape Bolts, tie Finals series at 1-1

San Miguel managed to overcome the Meralco challenge in a nail-biting fashion, securing a crucial 95-94 victory to even the PBA Philippine Cup title duel at 1-1.

CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter stepped up in clutch moments, with Perez exploding for 34 points and Lassiter hitting a game-winning three-pointer to seal the win.

Despite trailing by as many as eight points in the final period, Perez’s seven-point outburst, including a crucial three-pointer, helped the Beermen close the gap.

Lassiter’s timely three-pointer with 13.2 seconds left proved to be the difference-maker, propelling San Miguel ahead for the narrow victory.

June Mar Fajardo contributed a solid performance with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Don Trollano and Mo Tautuaa combined for 22 points to support the team’s efforts.

The win marked San Miguel’s first triumph over Meralco in the conference after suffering losses in the finals opener and elimination round.

The Beermen and the Bolts will break the tie in Game 3 on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Cliff Hodge led Meralco with a season-high 25 points and nine rebounds, with Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome adding 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Despite a missed opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead, the Bolts remain determined to bounce back in the upcoming game.

In a game witnessed by a sizeable crowd, including Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Chairman and President Manny V. Pangilinan, both teams displayed their competitive spirit and determination to secure the victory.

The scores:

San Miguel 95 – Perez 34, Fajardo 17, Trollano 12, Tautuaa 10, Cruz 7, Lassiter 6, Ross 5, Brondial 2, Teng 2, Enciso 0.

Meralco 94 – Hodge 25, Banchero 16, Newsome 14, Quinto 9, Maliksi 8, Rios 6, Bates 6, Torres 5, Caram 3, Pascual 2, Almazan 0, Jose 0.

Quarterscores: 21-22, 49-48, 69-73, 95-94

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