Just like last year, the San Miguel Beermen avenged their Game One loss by blasting the Magnolia Hotshots, 108-101, to tie their 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals series at one game apiece, Friday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen pulled away from the Hotshots late in the second frame, 41-31, kickstarting the one-sided affair in their favor. San Miguel went on to lead by as many as 21 points several times in the final frame.
“We’re so glad that we’re able to tie the series because this is what we’re trying to avoid – to fall into zero-two,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria. “It’s going to be exciting now because the series boils down to best-of-five.”
Seven Beermen finished in double-figure scoring in the win. June Mar Fajardo led the charge with 16 points on top of 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block. Meanwhile, Alex Cabagnot had 16 markers as well alongside six assists.
Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter had 15 points apiece, while Terrence Romeo finished with 13 points. The three redeemed themselves after they were silenced back in Game One, when they only shot a combined 4-of-29 from the field.
Arwind Santos and Christian Standhardinger had 13 points and seven rebounds each.
“What happened tonight is we’re able to set up plays and we’re able to not concentrate solely on June Mar. And the scoring was divided among players – seven players got into double figures eh,” Austria lauded.
Romeo failed to finish the match, however, as he was ejected after incurring two consecutive technical fouls with 6:23 left to play. He had ‘disrespectfully addressed’ an official, in which he threw the ball at a ref.
Even San Miguel team governor Robert Non attempted to restrain the angry guard, but the latter was too emotional.
“We will take that positively as Romeo is a warrior. He wanted to win. But we will tell him that that is not a way to win the game,” said Austria. “Tingin ko excessive foul sa kanya. Prior to that, they kept on bugging him pero hindi tinawagan.
“I like that kid because he is a warrior. That is a sign na ayaw niya na nalalamang. But this is a basketball game. He should be matured. Sa tingin ko makukuha rin niya yun,” furthered the decorated bench strategist.
Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 18 points. Jio Jalalon flirted with a triple-double of 15 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Mark Barroca supplied 12 points and seven assists, while Kyle Pascual made 11 off the bench.
Paul Lee had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in the loss.
The Hotshots tried to rally one last time inside the final two minutes and chipped away at the deficit. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on their side, and they were only able to make the scoreline more respectable.
Both teams will look take the series lead on Game Three, Sunday, May 5, still at the Big Dome.
San Miguel 108 – Fajardo 16, Cabagnot 16, Ross 15, Lassiter 15, Santos 13, Romeo 13, Standhardinger 13, Pessumal 5, Rosser 2, Nabong 0, Zamar 0.
Magnolia 101 – Sangalang 18, Jalalon 15, Barroca 12, Pascual 11, Lee 10, Melton 9, Simon 6, Ramos 6, Herndon 5, Dela Rosa 4, Reavis 2, Calisaan2, Brondial 1.
Quarterscores: 23-22, 51-41, 83-66, 108-101.
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