Guard Marcio Lassiter scored a triple that allowed reigning champion San Miguel Beer to escape Northern Luzon Expressway with slim 94-93 victory on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Import Arizona Reid finished with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting in the field plus 11 rebounds for the Beermen. Alex Cabagnot contributed 19 points, Gary David 13 points, while center June Mar Fajardo had 16 points and six rebounds.
“We almost lost this game but we still got lucky,” San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria told reporters after the game.
Paul Asi Taulava, who tallied six points and eight rebounds, scored a jumper that gave NLEX a 93-88 lead with 1:04 remaining. Cabagnot, however, scored a three-pointer with 27 seconds remaining, bringing the score to 93-91.
Lassiter’s crucial shot with 0.5 seconds left in the game allowed the Beermen to improve its win-loss record to 2-0.
Emerging from the opening period with a slim 23-22 lead, San Miguel Beer, relied heavily on the shooting prowess of Cabagnot and Reid to established a 51-41-halftime lead.
NLEX’s veteran big man Taulava and San Miguel Beer’s David Semerad were slapped with technical fouls for hitting each other in the second half.
The Road Warriors outclassed the Beermen in the third period 27-17, with the score at 68-all entering the fourth quarter.
NLEX managed to stretch the lead to 75-68 in the early part of third frame through the effort of Jonas Villanueva.
NLEX engaged San Miguel Beer in a tight fight in the payoff period but Lassiter’s basket rescued the Beermen in the final seconds of the game.
Import Henry Bill Walker led NLEX with 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting in the field plus six rebounds and four assists. Jonas Villanueva had 14 points while Sean Anthony finished with nine points also for the Road Warriors.
The Road Warriors’ win-loss record dropped to 1-1.
In the other match, JP Erram’s defensive play in the final seconds lifted the Blackwater Elite to a 100-98 win over the Star Hotshots. It was Blackwater’s first win after two matches.
Erram, who posted 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks, blocked Allein Maliksi’s lay-up in the dying seconds of the game resulting in his squad’s triumph. Import Eric Dawson contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds, to the Elite’s victory.
Blackwater’s win-loss record improved to 1-1 while the Star Hotshots’ dropped to 0-2.
Meanwhile, Meralco will be gunning for the solo lead and a third straight win when it battles sister-team Talk ‘N Text in the first game at 3 p.m. on Saturday also at the Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine and Phoenix Petroleum will clash in the second game at 5:15 p.m.
JOSEF T. RAMOS
JOSEF T. RAMOS