San Miguel Beer relied on a high-octane performance in the second half to score a 109-97 win over TNT KaTropa and take a 2-1 lead on Sunday in Game 3 of their best-of-seven finals duel of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
After a close first half, the Beermen leaned on combo guard Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross in the second half to overcome the early foul troubles of June Mar Fajardo and import Charles Rhodes, denying also the KaTropa’s fourth quarter surge in the payoff period.
The Philippine Cup champion registered a 62-52 lead after Marcio Lassiter’s jumper with 7:07 to go in the third period and Cabagnot made a lay-up off a goaltending, pushing the Beermen’s lead to 101-88 with 3:24 remaining in the payoff period.
San Miguel Beer kept up its double-digit lead until the final buzzer.
“Thank you so much. It’s a hard-fought win. I think what happened in the game is we do not have any adjustments. We just keep our intensity high,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria, noting that his players were challenged to play defense.
“The players stepped up defensively and they stopped the scorers of the opposing team.”
Cabagnot posted 11 of his 28 points in third quarter to go along with nine rebounds and six assists, while Ross tallied nine of his 17 points in the payoff period to lead the Beermen. Despite committing his fifth foul in the last 8:51 mark, Rhodes still finished the game with 25 points and 20 rebounds.
Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos contributed 16 and 10 points, respectively, also for the Beermen.
RR Garcia finished with 19 points to lead the KaTropa and Joshua Smith made 18 points and 14 rebounds. Roger Pogoy was the missing link in TNT’s offense, as he ended up scoreless for the second straight game after scoring 27 points in Game 1.
After the end of first half, the coaching staff of San Miguel Beer and TNT standby import Mike Myers and Governor’s Cup import Michael Craig were engaged in a shouting match.
Even prior to the end of first half, Myers and Craig taunted San Miguel Beer players particularly Ross and the fans at the VIP section after Smith made a three-point play late in the second quarter. They were relocated near the TNT bench after the incident.
While heading to their respective dugouts, Craig allegedly shook off the railings hitting San Miguel Beer Governor Robert Non on the other side. San Miguel Beer assistant coach Boyzie Zamar, according to the witnesses, confronted the two imports.
Commissioner Chito Narvasa, then, talked with officials of both teams to pacify the situation.
SAN MIGUEL 109 – Cabagnot 28, Rhodes 25, Ross 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 10, Fajardo 6, Heruela 5, Semerad 2, Tubid 0, Espinas 0.
TNT 97 – Garcia 19Smith 18, Castro 17, Semerad 12, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Tautuaa 7, Reyes 7, Pogoy 0, Rosario 0.
Quarter Scores: 23-23, 46-47, 79-72, 109-97.