San Miguel used its depth in the endgame to thwart NLEX, 100-92, and gain the early lead Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
CJ Perez’s 19 points paced the Beermen and Marcio Lassiter laced a personal historic game with 18 markers, but it was the towering combination of Mo Tautuaa and June Mar Fajardo leading their endgame surge that pointed them to their second win in as many games.
“In that situation I was forced to use the two guys (together) because I know we could take advantage,” was how SMB coach Leo Austria explained the ploy he mustered for better execution of the team’s halfcourt sets.
“We took advantage of the size of these two guys, which I think materialized,” added Austria.
Indeed, Tautuaa scored all seven of his points and Fajardo five of his nine in the payoff period, enabling the Beermen to steadily pull away from an 82-81 count and into their follow up to their 108-100 win over Phoenix Super LPG just last Friday.
“We know we have to step up on our defense. We know what to do, we know what they are doing so it was a matter of application,” was how Austria put it.
Making the win, which gave SMB its first 2-0 start since the 2019 Governors’ Cup, was made more special when Lassiter became only the ninth member of the league’s 1,000 3-Point Club after booming in his third triple of the game in the second quarter.