Alaska withstands wild finish to go 2-0 up against SMB in PBA PH Cup finals

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--San Miguel appeared to have contained Alaska in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum two nights after a fourth quarter blitz gave the latter the Game 1 win.

The Beermen just could not finish it off.

The Aces held on as the Beermen missed crucial shots in the end and escaped with an 83-80 squeaker on Tuesday night.

Alaska appeared to be pulling away after it led, 78-73, with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter.

But buckets from Ronald Tubid and Yancy De Ocampo cut the lead to just one, 78-77, with 2:32 left in the match.

San Miguel appeared to be getting a chance to get the lead when Sonny Thoss airballed an open elbow jumper, but Calvin Abueva acted like a volleyball libero when he went for a dig as the ball was heading outside the baseline. Chris Banchero got the ball and drove his way to a layup to up the lead to three with 2:10 to go.

Tubid, however, answered with a corner triple to tie the game, 80-all, with 1:47 remaining.

The Beermen finally got the golden opportunity after Arwind Santos blocked Vic Manuel's layup, but Marcio Lassiter missed on a triple with 1:12 left.

The game, however, remained interesting as Dondon Hontiveros only made a split from the line with 56.8 seconds to go.

But Lassiter was caught stepping on the sideline after receiving the ball from the corner with 37 seconds on the clock.

De Ocampo then got the chance to give San Miguel the lead after Thoss fouled him while going for a rebound off an Abueva miss, but the stretch-5 player muffed two clutch free throws and Vic Manuel secured the rebound.

After the timeout, however, Manuel lost the ball to Lassiter, who quickly called a timeout for Coach Leo Austria to map out the potential game-winning play.

Tubid misfired on a wide open corner triple, and Manuel blocked De Ocampo's follow-up and nailed two charities at the other end for the three-point cushion with 1.7 seconds left.

Alex Cabagnot's long desperation trey at the other end went off right as the final horn sounded.

Manuel came off the bench anew but finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and one steal for the Aces, who are now leading, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series.

Abueva flirted with a double-double after tallying nine points and 11 rebounds along with two assists.

Cabagnot led the Beermen with 23 markers, two boards, one dime, and two steals. De Ocampo started for the second straight game with Junemar Fajardo sidelined due to a knee injury and contributed 13 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks.

The series will shift to the Quezon Convention Center on Friday night for Game 3.

Box Scores:

Alaska 83-Manuel 18, Hontiveros 12, Baguio 10, Abueva 9, Jazul 7, Baclao 6, Banchero 6, Menk 6, Casio 5, Thoss 4, Dela Cruz 0, Exciminiano 0

San Miguel 80-Cabagnot 23, De Ocampo 13, Lassiter 11, Santos 10, Lutz 6, Ross 6, Tubid 5, Espinas 4, Arana 2, Reyes 0

Quarterscores: 23-18, 39-36, 62-60, 83-80

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