Chris Ross led San Miguel Beer over the Purefoods Star Hotshots 103-99 on Wednesday in the knockout quarterfinals game of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ross scored an important shot in addition to two crucial free throws in the dying minutes to send the Philippine Cup back-to-back champions San Miguel Beermen into the semifinals. He finished with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
“I think it is obvious the players refused to lose,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the postgame interview. “They know the glory of winning and they know the importance of this game. We have a chance for a grand slam if we win this conference.”
“Star Hotshots really have a good game plan for us. My hats off to coach Jason Webb.”
Guard Marcio Lassiter, who averaged 15.2 points in the elimination round, tallied 17 points and five rebounds while Arwind Santos finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Import Tyler Wilkerson scored a game-high 46 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks for the Beermen.
Center June Mar Fajardo and Gabby Espinas contributed nine and eight points, respectively, also for San Miguel Beer.
Ricardo Ratliffe posted 24 points and 16 rebounds while Peter June Simon had 21 points for the Hotshots.
The Star Hotshots opened the first quarter by outscoring the Beermen 29-21. But San Miguel Beer bounced back in the second period to cut the deficit to only two, 54-52, at halftime.
San Miguel Beer struggled in the first half with Cabagnot missing all his five attempts to score while Santos and Ronald Tubid shot 1-of-5 and 0-of-3 overall in the field, respectively.
The Purefoods Star Hotshots, on the other hand, posted 22-of-44 overall shooting in the field after the two periods.
Simon, Pingris and Maliksi were able to beef up Ratliffe’s first half 16 points with a combined 31 points in the first two periods.
Wilkerson posted 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting in the field plus nine rebounds in first half. Ross registered nine points also for the Beermen during halftime.
The Hotshots had an impressive charge early in the match, relying heavily on Simon and Alex Mallari who posted a combined output of 16 points in the third period. Import Ratliffe scored eight points also in that quarter resulting in the Hotshots gaining an 87-78 lead at the start of fourth period.
San Miguel Beer, however, outclassed the Star Hotshots in the pivotal fourth quarter to secure a semifinals berth.
San Miguel 103—Wilkerson 46, Lassiter 17, Ross 13, Santos 10, Fajardo 9, Espinas 8, Cabagnot 0, Tubid 0.
Star 99—Ratliffe 24, Simon 21, Pingris 18, Mallari 10, Maliksi 9, Barroca 8, Melton 5, Sangalang 4, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 21-29; 52-54; 78-87; 103-99