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SMB rolls in second half to stop Alaska in crucial clash

Chris Ross caught fire in time as the Beermen stay on top of the standings. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

BATANGAS CITY--San Miguel leaned on a huge second half to turn back Alaska, 109-96, in a crucial PBA Philippine Cup match at the Batangas City Sports Center on Saturday night.

It was a tale of two halves as both clubs aim at moving closer to the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, but the Beermen took control of the 24-minute span that mattered the most.

Alaska zoomed ahead in the first half as Kevin Racal, Vic Manuel, and Jvee Casio led the team in building a lead as high as 15, 46-31.

However, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter caught fire in the third quarter as SMB dropped 33 points on Alaska to take a 74-71 lead entering the fourth.

Lassiter's brilliance spilled through the final canto as he took charge in the Beermen's breakaway.

Ross, who was scoreless in the first quarter, finished with 26 points on top of three rebounds, nine assists, and four steals for SMB, which inched closer to the playoff bonus at 7-2.

Lassiter made all but two of his 21 points in the second half to backstop Ross while grabbing eight caroms, four dimes, and three blocks.

Arwind Santos already got a double-double by halftime and chipped in 19 markers and 14 boards with four assists, three blocks, and two steals.

Junemar Fajardo also had a double-double of 17 points and 18 rebounds with one block and one steal as well.

Casio, who tried to keep Alaska in the game with back-to-back triples, finished with 20 points with six assists and two blocks, but his late effort went down the drain as Alaska slipped to 6-4, just a half-game ahead of Ginebra, NLEX, and Rain Or Shine for third place.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 109-Ross 26, Santos 21, Lassiter 21, Fajardo 17, Rosser 11, De Ocampo 6, Lanete 4, Heruela 3, Vigil 2, Pessumal 0, Semerad 0

Alaska 96-Casio 20, Thoss 15, Manuel 13, Racal 13, R. Pascual 9, Enciso 9, Abueva 7, Cruz 6, Exciminiano 4, Baclao 0, Potts 0, J. Pascual 0

Quarterscores: 16-26, 41-50, 74-71, 109-96

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