Beermen rally to beat Fuel Masters, go up 2-0
MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion San Miguel Beer overcame a double-digit deficit to beat top seed Phoenix, 92-82, for a 2-0 lead in their Philippine Cup semifinals series Monday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo posted a double-double with 19 points and 18 rebounds despite facing multiple defenders while Marcio Lassiter topscored with 24 points for the Beermen.
“We were lucky we were able to escape this game. We know from the start it’s going to be a hard game for us because we know they (Phoenix) are going to play very hard,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
San Miguel, who trailed by as much as 12, played catchup for three quarters before finding its groove in the final frame behind Lassiter and Terrence Romeo.
Lassiter scored nine points in the final two minutes while Romeo provided the much-needed offensive spark early in the fourth period where he unleashed eight of his 14 points.
“We all know that Terrence can explode anytime,” Austria said.
The Beermen came back despite missing the services of Christian Standhardinger, who got ejected with still six minutes left in the second quarter after getting called for a flagrant foul penalty 2.
The series resumes for Game 3 on Sunday after the Holy Week break.
Calvin Abueva paced Phoenix with 16 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:10 remaining.
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