By JONAS TERRADO
Marcio Lassiter scored on a putback to beat the buzzer and help lift San Miguel Beer to a stunning 98-96 come-from-behind win over TNT, tying their best-of-seven semifinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup at 1-1 Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Lassiter was in the right place at the right time for the Beermen when he picked up the ball underneath following misses by June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos to give the Beermen an incredible turnaround after being down by 19 in the third.
San Miguel players and coaches went bananas after the shot as they produced a different outcome from the series opener when Lassiter failed to convert a running attempt in the final seconds that gave TNT an 89-88 win.
“Yun yung tinatawag na sense of urgency, because of experience. That possession was important and we’re lucky that he converted at the right time.
Terrence Romeo, who groped for form during the quarterfinal clincher against NorthPort and the first game of the semis after being sidelined late in the eliminations with an Achilles injury, had a very major role in the rally with 15 of his 26 points coming in the fourth.
Romeo’s final two baskets brought San Miguel within a point 93-92, and could have put SMB up in the final minute but missed a three-pointer from the top of the key.
The Tropang Giga almost made it a three-point game but Jayson Castro missed an easy layup. The Beermen then went ahead 94-93 on two Lassiter free throws that came after he was fouled by RR Pogoy with 24.3 seconds left as he was receiving Alex Cabagnot’s inbound.
Poy Erram, who scored 20 points, tried to put TNT back in front but his corner three hit the side rim and Chris Ross made two foul shots with 10.6 left for a 96-93 SMB lead.
But TNT responded when Troy Rosario tied it on a three off Mo Tautuaa with 6.4 seconds to go. SMB called a timeout and coach Leo Austria mapped out a play for Fajardo in the post.
Fajardo got a good spot off the inbound but his one-handed hit the front rim. Santos went for a tip-in but missed, then Lassiter got free from rookie Mikey Williams, who was watching the play, and came through with the winning basket.
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, M. Rosario 14, Williams 12, Marcelo 9, Castro 8, Heruela 5, Montalbo 3, Reyes 2, Khobuntin 2.
Quarters: 23-31, 46-53, 62-87, 98-96.