MANILA — Just when everyone thought Barangay Ginebra will be off to a smooth sailing to even up its PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series, the San Miguel Beermen showed them why it is the defending champs.
San Miguel completed a rally from 15 points down to turn back Ginebra in overtime, 104-102, in Game 2 of their series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday night.
Marcio Lassiter stunned the crowd when his putback with 3.2 seconds left put the Beermen up for good and eventually took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven clash with the Barangay.
Ginebra looked solid for most of the first half, eventually opening a 53-38 lead with less than three minutes left in the half.
The team thought it would retain control of the game until SMB rallied later in the third quarter to cut the lead down to just three, setting up a wild finish ahead.
The Barangay appeared to have re-established control of the game in the fourth quarter, maintaining the lead for most of the period.
But the Beermen ended the period on a 13-4 run capped by the equalizing putback from Arwind Santos with 11 seconds left in regulation to force overtime at 95-all.
Joe Devance actually had a chance to win it for Ginebra in regulation but missed a potential game-winning layup just before the buzzer sounded.
The team thought it already finished off SMB after taking a 102-98 lead with 1:02 to go, but it was all Lassiter from thereon, starting with a quick layup on the next play that cut the lead down to two, 102-100.
His teammates then forced Scottie Thompson to a tough three-pointer that he muffed, while he forced a 102-all tie with two free throws with 15 seconds remaining.
The Beermen’s defense worked wonders again when they forced Devance to a five-second inbounding infraction, giving them the ball back.
Lassiter opted for a pick-and-roll play with Junemar Fajardo which came close to fruition as the latter came close to the basket only that he missed the lay-in.
But Lassiter saved their cause with a tip-in for the win.
Thompson tried to steal the game for the Barangay, but he lost the ball in the end.
Lassiter had 25 points to backstop Fajardo, who finished with 33 for SMB.
Fajardo actually had a double-double as he grabbed 19 rebounds as well even as Santos had his own double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Ginebra’s loss spoiled Prince Caperal’s breakout game.
Caperal finished with a career-high 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and one block.
Japeth Aguilar led the team with 28 markers, seven boards, five dimes, two swats, and one steal.
San Miguel 104-Fajardo 33, Lassiter 25, Cabagnot 13, Ross 13, Santos 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Heruela 2, Pessumal 0, De Ocampo 0, Espinas 0
Ginebra 102-Aguilar 28, Caperal 26, Devance 11, Thompson 10, Cruz 10, Tenorio 8, Mercado 7, Mariano 2.
Quarterscores: 25-30, 42-55, 70-73, 95-95, 104-102 PNA-northboundasia.com