MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo received sufficient help this time as San Miguel toppled Magnolia in a 108-101 win to level the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, May 3.
Fajardo finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 steals, while 6 other players breached double figures in the victory that saw the Beermen knot the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Alex Cabagnot chalked up 16 points and buried back-to-back triples that helped San Miguel pull away in the 3rd period, while Marcio Lassiter – who was held scoreless in their Game 1 loss – found his range with 15 points.
Chris Ross added another 15 points, and Arwind Santos, Terrence Romeo, and Christian Standhardinger put up 13 points apiece in the win.
The Hotshots were within striking distance midway through the 3rd as they trailed by only 6 points until Cabagnot drilled in two straight triples to give the Beermen a 67-55 lead.
It only got worse for Magnolia from there after San Miguel stretched their lead to as large as 91-70 off a Ross bucket with 9 minutes remaining.
The Hotshots, though, did not go down without a fight as they managed to trim their deficit to 11 points with barely two minutes left, 92-103, before Lassiter immediately broke their hearts with a three-pointer.
"We're so glad that we're able to tie the series because this is what we're trying to avoid – to fall into 0-2," said Beermen head coach Leo Austria.
While San Miguel controlled the match throughout, they did have moments of disarray with Romeo getting thrown out for incurring back-to-back technical fouls midway through the final frame.
That, however, barely changed anything as San Miguel protected its double-digit lead late before fielding in its bench players in the final minute.
Ian Sangalang paced Magnolia with 18 points, while Jio Jalalon flirted with a triple-double of 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Paul Lee added 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, and Mark Barroca and Kyle Pascual chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the win.
Game 3 is on Sunday, May 5, at the same venue.
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.
Quarters: 23-22, 51-41, 83-66, 108-101.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.