San Miguel dispatches Meralco late to clinch semis seat

Lassiter (in red) was clutch when his team needed him to deliver. Photo from PBA Images

Lassiter (in red) was clutch when his team needed him to deliver.

Photo from PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen had seen more than one double-digit lead evaporate against the Meralco Bolts’ unrelenting, hardnosed, and opportune play in the quarterfinals.

But when it was time to finally put a stamp and take down Coach Norman Black’s team for good, AZ Reid, Marcio Lassiter and company made sure to get the job done. 

Thanks to clutch shots from their main guns and timely defensive plays, San Miguel dominated the fourth quarter and eventually pulled away from Meralco, 102-86, on Monday, June 29, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to book a seat in the Governors’ Cup semifinals where they will take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

San Miguel, which flirted with trouble in both quarterfinal games and allowed the Bolts to steal Game 1 and nearly repeat the same feat in Game 2, outscored Meralco 35-21 in the final 12 minutes with most of the production coming from Lassiter and Reid.

Reid finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Lassiter put up 17 points and hit 3 3-pointers - the last two of which were crucial since it turned a 4-point San Miguel lead with a little over 9 minutes to go in the game to a double-digit advantage. 

“I think that’s the turning point - his 3-point shot, two 3-points… his presence outside is something that could create an opening for our big men,” Beermen head coach Leo Austria said after the contest. 

According to the coach, his players guaranteed a win in Game 2 and said “papakamatay kami [para] dito.” 

(We will die for this game.) 

San Miguel looked en route to an easy win when they were on top 62-50 with 6:02 left in the third quarter, but a personal 6-0 run by Bolts import Andre Emmett spearheaded a Meralco rally that eventually led to the Beermen holding only a 67-65 advantage entering the final period.

After some back and forth action, Lassiter’s 3-balls propelled San Miguel to a comfortable lead which they held on to the rest of the way. 

“We had nothing to gain, everything to lose against Meralco because they are #7, we are #2,” Austria said about the game. 

June Mar Fajardo was named the best player of the game after registering 22 points and 16 boards. Arwind Santos put up 15 points - all in the first half, where San Miguel was on top 30-18 after the first quarter. 

Meralco was led by the 28 markers of Emmett who also had 12 boards and 5 dimes. Reynel Hugnatan and Gary David put up 17 and 16 points, respectively.

SCORES: 

SAN MIGUEL 102 - Reid 29, Fajardo 22, Lassiter 17, Santos 15,Tubid 8, Espinas 5, Lutz 2, Cabagnot 2, Ross 2. 

MERALCO 86 - Emmett 28, Hugnatan 17, David 16, Cortez 7, Dillinger 5, Nabong 5, Hodge 5, Anthony 3, Ando 0, Atkins 0, Guevarra 0. 

Quarter Scores: 30-18, 49-42, 67-65, 102-86  

– Rappler.com