Marcio Lassiter led defending champion San Miguel Beer to a 111-98 Game 1 victory over Talk ‘N Text in the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Lassiter finished with 22 points, including 12 in the first quarter, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
“First win is very important in any series,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the postgame news conference. “I’m very worried at the start. We have to keep on fighting. I’m happy to see that they are enjoying the game.”
San Miguel Beer has equaled its all-time franchise-winning streak of 11 wins during the 2013 Governor’s Cup.
San Miguel Beer dominated the first quarter with seven treys including Ronald Tubid’s back-to-back three pointers. The Beermen were leading 32-16 by the end of the first period.
Gabby Espinas handed the Beermen their biggest lead, 34-16, after making two free throws with still 11:26 to go in the second period.
Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro narrowed the gap, 35-40, through a jumper with 5:58 left in the third canto. But San Miguel Beer’s three-point shooting was too much for Talk ‘N Text in the latter part of second quarter.
A 9-2 run off the triples of Santos, Lassiter and Cabagnot resulted in a 49-37 lead with 3:42 left. The KaTropa could not narrow the gap as the Beermen closed the first half, 56-46.
The Beermen sustained their offensive in the second half with big man Jun Mar Fajardo battering KaTropa’s frontline in the third period.
Fajardo posted 21 points in the third period plus eight rebounds while playmaker Alex Cabagnot notched 20 points, including nine in the last quarter. San Miguel Beer was never threatened for the remaining minutes of the match. Forward Arwind Santos added 15 points; Gabby Espinas scored 13 while Ryan Roose Garcia had nine, also for the Beermen.
Jayson Castro led Talk ‘N Text with 27 points and eight assists.
SMB 111 – Lassiter 22, Fajardo 21, Cabagnot 20, Santos 15, Espinas 13, Garcia 9, Tubid 6, Ross 5, McCarthy 0, Agovida 0, Y. De Ocampo 0.
TNT 98 – Castro 27, Williams 24, Tautuaa 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, R. De Ocampo 7, Fonacier 7, Pogoy 6, Reyes 4, Seigle 2, Rosario 0, Carey 0, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0, Rosales 0,.
Quarter scores: 32-16, 56-46, 83-73, 111-98.