(UPDATED) Marcio Lassiter finished what Terrence Romeo started, and San Miguel Beer completed a massive comeback to stun the TNT Tropang GIGA, 98-96, in Game 2 of their 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series.
The Beermen trailed by as much as 19 points on Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, but Romeo sparked their rally in the fourth quarter to eventually tie the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
Romeo scored a game-high 26 points, 15 of which came in a blistering fourth quarter that saw SMB erase a 15-point deficit. June Mar Fajardo added 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting along with 10 rebounds, and Alex Cabagnot had 14 points.
Lassiter finished with seven markers, having made only two of his six attempts. But his second field goal was the most crucial of the game, as he snuck in for an offensive rebound and a putback as time expired to give San Miguel the win.
"'Yun ang tinatawag na sense of urgency," said SMB coach Leo Austria afterward. "That possession is very important, and we're lucky he converted it at the right time."
TNT was up by 19, 80-61, in the third quarter and still led 82-67 entering the fourth frame. But Romeo waxed hot in the fourth, and he scored eight points in a 12-4 run that made it a six-point game, 88-82, with still over five minutes left.
With the Tropang GIGA in penalty, the Beermen continued to cut into the deficit through the free throw line. A pull-up jumper by Romeo got them to within one point, 93-92, with a minute and 24 seconds to go.
Romeo missed a potential go-ahead jumper in the next possession, but TNT blew a chance to pad their lead when rookie Mikey Williams misfired on a corner triple. Poy Erram's hustle allowed them to keep the ball, but Jayson Castro shockingly missed a wide-open layup after blowing by Arwind Santos.
San Miguel regained the lead off two free throws by Lassiter, 94-93, after Roger Pogoy was called for a holding foul. Erram missed a three-pointer on the other end, and two free throws by Chris Ross pushed SMB's lead to three points, 96-93.
The game appeared headed for overtime when Troy Rosario elevated over Mo Tautuaa to knock down a game-tying triple, but TNT left six seconds on the clock -- enough time for the Beermen to snatch the win.
"Talagang drained na drained na kami, but hindi ko matatawaran 'yung puso nitong mga players," said Austria, who drew up a play for Fajardo to receive the ball in the post.
The big man was able to get a shot off but bricked his layup, only for Santos to try to tip it in. The veteran forward missed, but TNT failed to box out Lassiter who secured the loose ball and laid it in at the buzzer for the win.
"We're down by 20 points but they keep on fighting. And I told them na, okay lang 'yan, basta you keep on fighting, and let's see what will happen," Austria said. "To tell you honestly, talagang ano eh, pure heart ito eh, and determination ng mga players."
The game-winner was a redemption of sorts for Lassiter, who had missed a potential go-ahead layup in Game 1 of the series last Sunday, allowing TNT to escape with an 89-88 victory.
Pogoy continued his fine play in the series, tallying 20 points and six boards, while Erram had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. However, Erram also fouled out with 10 seconds left after giving up a duty foul to Ross, and the Tropang GIGA sorely missed his presence on the boards in the final possession of the contest.
Rosario finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Williams scored 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting on top of his seven assists and five boards.
The scores :
SAN MIGUEL 98 – Romeo 26, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 14, Santos 11, Perez 8, Tautuaa 8, Lassiter 7, Ross 2, Pessumal 0
TNT 96 – Pogoy 21, Erram 20, Rosario 14, M.Williams 12, Marcelo 9, Castro 8, Heruela 5, Montalbo 3, Khobuntin 2, Reyes 2, Exciminiano 0
Quarters: 23-31, 46-53, 67-82, 98-96