SMB clings to one-point win over Star, levels semis series

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen failed to score in the last 3 minutes and 47 seconds of Game 2 but they clung on for a 77-76 victory over the Star Hotshots to level the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals at one game apiece on Monday, June 12 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Beermen dodged a major bullet that would've sent them down a 0-2 hole in the best-of-5 series when their shots refused to go in, turnovers were given up, and key rebounds were missed late in the game.

Mark Barroca gave the Hotshots a chance when he layed in a two-pointer and fished the foul with 43 seconds on the clock for the potential and-one play. But his missed free throw may haunt him should Star lose this series as it would've tied the game and perhaps forced over time.

Barroca made up for that with a crucial steal that led to the final possession, where Paul Lee tried to win it for Star but he botched the one-hander.

San Miguel blew a 16-point lead as Star's defense neutralized them in the second half. The Hotshots outscored their sister team by 30-14 in the third quarter to get right back into the game.

All 5 of San Miguel's starters wound up in double figures with import Charles Rhodes leading the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, playing just over 33 minutes.

Alex Cabagnot scored 13 points and grabbed 7 boards, while June Mar Fajardo posted 12 markers and 9 rebounds.

Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Star leaned on import Ricardo Ratliffe's 25 points and a whopping 35 rebounds as he logged on close to 47 minutes of play.

Rookie Jio Jalalon provided additional firepower with 18 points on 6-of-16 shots off the bench, while Ian Sangalang added 12 markers. But it wasn't enough to make up for the missing offense of Allein Maliksi (5 points), Aldrech Ramos (5 points, and also last game's winning shot) Lee (3 points), and Barroca (4 points).

Game 3 of this series is on Wednesday, June 14.

Scores:

San Miguel (77): Rhodes 21, Cabagnot 13, Fajardo 12, Lassiter 11, Ross 10, Tubid 5, Santos 3, Espinas 2, Heruela 0.

Star (76): Ratliffe 25, Jalalon 18, Sangalang 12, Maliksi 5, Ramos 5, Barroca 4, Melton 4, Lee 3, Reavis 0, Simon 0. 

Quarter scores: 25-16, 44-30, 58-60, 77-76. 

– Rappler.com