Cabagnot hits winner, San Miguel escapes NorthPort for 1-0 lead
MANILA, Philippines—Alex Cabagnot had the sweetest return as he rescued San Miguel from defeat at the hands of NorthPort, 88-87, to take Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinals in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Cabagnot, who returned from a torn meniscus, delivered the biggest shot of the game, drilling a jumper off of Chris Ross’ inbound pass with 1.5 seconds left as the Beermen moved one win away from the semifinals.
Robert Bolick nearly won the game for the Batang Pier when knocked down a three-pointer from near half court to give NorthPort an 87-86 lead with 5.1 seconds to play in the fourth.
“This man (Cabagnot) anticipated his move. Alex is familiar with that kind of situation and that area,” said Beermen head coach Leo Austria. “Thank you Chris for reading the play. Alex knew the situation. I know he’s ready and that he’ll be in shape for his return.”
The Beermen held a comfortable 83-72 lead with 4:25 remaining before the Batang Pier mounted a 15-3 rally that Bolick capped off with his prayer three.
Cabagnot had a game-high 20 points to lead San Miguel while Moala Tautuaa added 15 points and five rebounds. CJ Perez pitched in 14 points and six boards.
Chris Ross also finished in double-figure scoring for the Beermen with 12 points, seven rebounds, and two steals while June Mar Fajardo had a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Sean Anthony led NorthPort with 16 points and eight rebounds while Greg Slaughter added 15 points and 10 boards.