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SMB rallies late to stop TNT's twice-to-beat hunt

By Ivan Saldajeno

ANTIPOLO—San Miguel fought back in the last two minutes to beat TNT, 98-94, in the main game of the PBA Philippine Cup twin bill at the Ynares Center on Saturday night.

The Beermen scored the last eight points of the game to steal the victory from the KaTropa, who appeared to have improved their chances on landing a Top 2 spot in the quarterfinals.

Trailing 67-76 after the third quarter, TNT outscored SMB, 27-14, in the first 9:07 of the fourth quarter to take a 94-90 advantage.

But back-to-back baskets from June Mar Fajardo tied the game up, 94-all, with left.

Kelly Williams appeared to have gotten free after Fajardo took the bait of his fake, but the referees slapped a traveling violation on him as they thought Williams moved his pivot foot while going for a spin move, setting up Alex Cabagnot's heroics.

Cabagnot got free for the go-ahead three-pointer with 27 seconds left to give the Beermen a 97-94 lead.

Larry Fonacier tried to tie the game anew, but his corner three with 15 seconds to go rimmed out and Arwind Santos sealed the win with a free throw in the next play.

Fajardo led SMB, winner of nine straight games, with 20 points, 22 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks, while Cabagnot finished with 19 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Marcio Lassiter came close to his own double-double after getting 18 points and nine rebounds with one assist.

Mo Tautuaa tallied 20 markers and three boards for TNT, whose hopes for the quarterfinal incentive are now dashed.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 98-Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Lassiter 18, Santos 18, Ross 9, Reyes 7, Espinas 4, Garcia 2, Agovida 1, Tubid 0, Heruela 0

TNT 94-Tautuaa 20, Castro 15, Fonacier 10, Rosales 10, De Ocampo 9, Carey 6, Reyes 6, Rosario 4, Rosser 3, Williams 3, Golla 2

Quarterscores: 31-24, 53-50, 76-67, 98-94

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