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SMB survives KIA scare

Beermen nab playoff bonus; Aces score
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:00 AM February 24, 2018

Marcio Lassiter saves the day for San Miguel. PBA IMAGES

Marcio Lassiter rescued San Miguel Beer from what coach Leo Austria described as a disaster, knocking in a layup with 1.8 seconds remaining as the defending champion Beermen escaped with a thrilling 108-106 victory over KIA Picanto Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen nearly wasted a 26-point lead in the second half before Lassiter bailed them out with five points in the final minute that helped San Miguel secure an eighth win in 10 games and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

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“It could have been a disaster for us,” said Austria, who missed June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot. “It was not a good sign for us going into the playoffs, but fortunately we got the win and the incentive.”

Lassiter finished with 22 points, including a triple with 47 seconds remaining that tied the game at 106. Getting a bounce pass from Chris Ross off the sideline inbound, Lassiter banked in from just under the basket to save the Beermen’s blushes.

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“It’s good to have guys like Marcio and Chris who know how to play together,” added Austria, whose team led 89-63 late in the third period.

The Picanto seemed poised for an upset when former San Miguel guard Rashawn McCarthy gave them a 104-103 lead. Glenn Khobuntin attacked the paint to extend the lead to 106-103 with 62 seconds left.

Later, Vic Manuel and JV Casio sparkled in crunchtime as Alaska dealt a huge blow to Rain or Shine’s bid for a twice-to-beat bonus by hammering out a thrilling 99-95 victory.

Rain or Shine needs to sweep its remaining games against San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra to stay in the hunt for the remaining quarterfinal bonus.

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TAGS: Kia Picanto, PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer
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