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All-Filipino SMB extends semis series against ROS


By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--In a bizarre moment right after Game 2 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals between San Miguel and Rain Or Shine won by the latter, Tyler Wilkerson quickly stormed out of the Smart Araneta Coliseum in disgust and never returned despite Coach Leo Austria's orders, casting doubts if the Best Import frontrunner will show up for SMB's do-or-die Game 3 at the PhilSports Arena on Thursday night.

Wilkerson was not sighted as he was given the marching orders, effectively forcing the Beermen to go All-Filipino, but they managed to save their conference campaign.

SMB rode behind a hot night from Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot to down Rain Or Shine,104-98, preventing the latter from a sweep of their best-of-five affair.

Lassiter buried 5-of-8 triples to finish with 30 points, while Cabagnot added 28 points for the Beermen who held off a late rally by the Elasto Painters and forced a Game 4.

SMB came back from a nine-point deficit early into the third quarter to go up, 80-67, with just 36.7 seconds left in the period.

ROS tried to mount comebacks early in the fourth period only to be stopped by SMB's timely baskets.

The E-Painters then got a huge chance to steal the win by scoring five straight points to come to within one, 96-97, with 1:53 left in the game.

But Lassiter came up with four straight of his own to push the Beermen's lead back to five, 101-96, with 1:12 remaining.

JR QuiƱahan kept ROS in it with an undergoal stab to cut the lead back to three, 101-98, with 49.2 seconds to go.

The team then got a chance to tie the game following Arwind Santos' missed triple, but Maverick Ahanmisi turned the ball over and Cabagnot converted a split from the line to make it a four-point game with 21.7 seconds left.

The E-Painters failed to convert their shots, and Santos secured the victory with two charities.

Jericho Cruz had 25 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and four steals for ROS, whose series lead was trimmed to one, 2-1.

Despite getting outrebounded, 58-41, by ROS, Wilkerson's absence was hardly felt by SMB as aside from Lassiter and Cabagnot's explosion, the team also made eight blocks, four from Junemar Fajardo and three more from Santos with Lassiter being credited for the lone other swat.

Game 4 is set on Sunday night at the Quezon City venue with the Beermen looking to stretch the series further to a Game 5 with a new import.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 104-Lassiter 30, Cabagnot 28, Santos 18, Fajardo 13, Espinas 5, De Ocampo 4, David 3, Ross 2, Arana 1, Heruela 0, Tubid 0

Rain Or Shine 98-Cruz 25, Lee 15, Ahanmisi 12, Quinahan 11, Chan 8, Almazan 7, Henderson-Niles 7, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Ponferada 4, Ibanes 0, Tiu 0

Quarterscores: 27-31, 51-53, 80-70, 104-98

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