|Alex Cabagnot won it for the Beermen. PBA Images|
MANILA--Alex Cabagnot lived up to his role as San Miguel's closer as he shot the winning basket to steal Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals from NorthPort with an 88-87 squeaker on Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Cabagnot scored on a tough jumper with 1.5 seconds left as the Beermen took the 1-0 lead over the Batang Pier just when everyone thought the latter would complete the stunner.
Cabagnot missed a crucial free throw with 7.3 seconds to go as SMB held to a precarious 86-84 lead.
Robert Bolick, who was taking over for NorthPort late, drained a long three-pointer to put his team up, 87-86, with 5.1 ticks on the clock left.
But Cabagnot quickly received the ball off the inbound and drove past Sidney Onwubere before going for a stepback jumper that he made.
Onwubere had a chance to redeem himself, but his desperation heave from deep into the right wing did not even hit the rim as time expired.
Cabagnot's heroics capped a 20-point night off the bench alongside three rebounds for the Beermen, who can clinch the best-of-three series in Game 2 on Thursday.
Mo Tautuaa added 15 points, five rebounds, and one assist.
June Mar Fajardo had a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards with four assists, one block, and one steal.
Greg Slaughter put up 15 markers, 10 caroms, one block, and one steal for the Batang Pier.
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