MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The San Miguel Beermen outlasted a late rally and hacked out a 109-102 victory against the Star Hotshots to secure a finals appearance in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, June 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alex Cabagnot led the charge for the Beermen as he finished with a team-high 26 points as well as 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Chris Ross had 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with 10 assists and 5 steals, while June Mar Fajardo dished out 22 points and 8 rebounds.
Charles Rhodes added 21 points and 10 boards for the the finals-bound Beermen.
“In our 4 games [against Star], very close, makikita mo naman eh (you’ll see it),” said head coach Leo Austria after the game. “They will force you to bring the best in you.”
“We’re happy to be in the finals again. But I have to give credit to the coaching staff of Star dahil talagang piniga nila kami (they pushed us to our limits).
The Hotshots had recurring problems in ball possession and handed their foes 30 points off turnovers alone. Their miscues only seemed to fuel the offensive fire for the Beermen, who buried 10 attempts from beyond the arc.
Down by as much as 17 in the second half, the Hotshots rallied to cut the deficit to 3 with less than a minute left on the clock. They were, however, on penalty and sent Marcio Lassiter on the stripe to make it a two-possession game.
Ricardo Ratliffe again topscored for the Star with another double-double of 36 points and 17 rebounds, while Allein Maliksi pitched in 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with 4 boards off the bench.
The Beermen will face the winner of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings-TNT KaTropa semis series, where the KaTropa currently holds a 2-1 lead.
SMB (109) - Cabagnot 26, Ross 24, Fajardo 22, Rhodes 21, Lassiter 8, Santos 4, Heruela 3, Espinas 1, Tubid 0
STAR (102)- Ratliffe 36, Maliksi 16, Barroca 13, Sangalang 11, Ramos 9, Lee 8, Jalalon 6, Simon 3, Melton 0, Reavis 0
Quarter scores: 29-27, 52-49, 83-69, 109-102. – Rappler.com