Jun 07, 2024

Perez, Lassiter strike as Beermen frustrate Bolts in Game 2, tie series

SAN Miguel Beer finally solved the Meralco problem - barely but enough to put the PBA Philippine Cup title duel to square one.

Leaning on clutch buckets from CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter, the Beermen scored a hard-earned 95-94 squeaker over the Bolts and make it a 1-1 tie Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Perez erupted for 34 points, highlighting his heroics with a seven-point outburst in the fourth capped by a huge three-pointer that shoved SMB to with one after trailing by as many as eight in the period.

Lassiter only shot six points but delivered the biggest shot of them all - a triple that put the Beermen ahead, 95-94, going to the last 13.2 seconds.

June Mar Fajardo produced par-for-the-course 17 markers and 13 boards tally while Don Trollano and Mo Tautuaa combined for 22 to contribute to SMB's first victory over Meralco this conference.

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Prior to the Game 2 win, the Beermen lost to the Bolts, 86-93 in the finals opener two nights ago and 92-95 back in the eliminations.
The defending champions and their tough challengers break their deadlock in Sunday's Game 3, also at the Big Dome.

Cliff Hodge, the Bolts' primary energy and hustle provider, became their lead attacker in the game witnessed by a good-sized crowd led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Chairman and President Manny V. Pangilinan himself.

Hodge had a season-high 25 to go with nine boards as Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome added 16 and 14, respectively.

The Bolts missed a good opportunity to grab a 2-0 upperhand in the race-to-four affair.

After SMB chipped away Meralco's eight-point cushion and surged ahead, Banchero bungled the potential go-ahead layup, leading to Perez' defensive rebound and trip to the foul line.
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Perez missed both and Bong Quinto retrieved the rebound only to turn the ball over. (OL)

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 95 - Perez 34, Fajardo 17, Trollano 12, Tautuaa 10, Cruz 7, Lassiter 6, Ross 5, Brondial 2, Teng 2, Enciso 0.

MERALCO 94 - Hodge 25, Banchero 16, Newsome 14, Quinto 9, Maliksi 8, Rios 6, Bates 6, Torres 5, Caram 3, Pascual 2, Almazan 0, Jose 0.

QUARTERS: 21-22, 49-48, 69-73, 95-94