by Jonas Terrado
Game Tuesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs Magnolia
(Rain or Shine leads series 2-0)
Game Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. — Phoenix Pulse vs San Miguel
San Miguel Beer displayed championship composure for the second straight game and overhauled Phoenix Pulse’s double-digit lead to prevail 92-82 for a 2-0 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Romeo, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter made crucial baskets in the latter stretch of the fourth to help the Beermen escape despite losing Christian Standhardinger to a second quarter ejection.
Standhardinger faces a likely fine and a possible suspension after a Flagrant Foul 2 for an incident with Calvin Abueva in the second quarter.
Lassiter finished with 24 points, including a three-pointer with 2:01 left in the fourth that made it 84-80 for the Beermen while Fajardo added 19 points and 18 rebounds.
The Beermen go for a commanding 3-0 lead on Easter Sunday at the Big Dome when the best-of-seven series resumes from the Holy Week break.
Phoenix can only hope for a resurrection by that time as it tries to figure out ways to bounce back from a two frustrating defeats.
The Fuel Masters led 40-28 in the second quarter but failed to sustain their form with the Beermen knotting the count at 63-all going into the fourth.
Romeo’s one-hander put San Miguel in front, 74-72, setting up a final stretch that favored the Beermen.
Cabagnot scored a layup and Ross knocked down a three for 81-76 San Miguel. Phoenix threatened for the final time on four straight points which ended on a baseline jumper by Jason Perkins.
Lassiter’s three gave the Beermen the needed cushion even as the Fuel Masters unraveled with Abueva committing his sixth foul after hacking Fajardo with 1:37 to go.
A frustrated Abueva went straight to the locker room, prompting officials to give Phoenix a technical foul for delay of game.
Abueva finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists but had seven turnovers.
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.