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Cabagnot clutch once more as San Miguel escapes TNT for 9th straight win


The San Miguel Beermen could have taken a day off Saturday evening. But they had other plans, wanting to prove a point.

After giving up an eight-point fourth quarter lead, the two-time defending Philippine Cup champions rallied back, and Alex Cabagnot knocked down a go-ahead three-pointer to escape the TNT Katropa, 98-94, for their ninth straight win.

San Miguel finished their elimination round campaign with just one loss, against the Phoenix Fuel Masters last November 30. TNT, on the other hand, drops to 6-5 — tied for sixth with Phoenix.

“I would like to congratulate my players. Even if it was a no bearing game, they still played,” said San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria.

June Mar Fajardo finished the game with a 20-20, with 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field to go along with 22 rebounds. He had three swats and four dimes as well.

The reigning MVP was also instrumental in San Miguel’s comeback, scoring four straight points that tied the game at 94-all with 58 ticks remaining. Then, just as he has done all conference long, Mr. Clutch came up big.

“Our intention was to give it to June Mar in the post but they played good defense on him. Alex was on top of the keyhole,” Austria reflected.

With 26.7 seconds remaining, Cabagnot knocked down his fifth triple of the game, which proved to be the winning shot. A miss by Larry Fonacier and a split on the stripe by Arwind Santos sealed the win for the team that is gunning for the perpetual trophy.

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“Alam naman natin si Alex eh. He won’t be called Mr. Clutch for nothing,” Austria added.

Cabagnot scored 19 points in the game. Marcio Lassiter and Santos added 18 points while grabbing nine and six rebounds respectively.

“They played hard. I’m proud of them,” Austria shared.

Both teams were evenly matched across the board except for the glaring difference in free throws. TNT committed 30 fouls in the game that led to 27 free throw attempts for SMB. The Katropa only had 10 attempts.

Batchmates Mo Tautuaa and Troy Rosario led TNT in scoring and rebounding respectively. Tautuaa scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while Rosario grabbed nine rebounds. Jayson Castro tallied 15 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.

The Scores

San Miguel (98) – Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Lassiter 18, Santos 18, Ross 9, Reyes 7, Espinas 4, Garcia 2, Agovida 1, Heruela 0, Tubid 0.

TNT (94) – Tautuaa 20, Castro 15, Fonacier 10, Rosales 10, De Ocampo 9, Carey 6, Reyes 6, Pogoy 6, Rosario 4, Williams 3, Rosser 3, Golla 2,

Quarterscores: 31-24, 53-50, 76-67, 98-94.

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