May 12, 2019

Unyielding Beermen force winner-take-all match

San Miguel Beer just won't let its all-Filipino reign end yet.

With their backs against the wall, the Beermen summoned tremendous resolve and fortitude, and fashioned out an emphatic 98-86 win over the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots, thus sending their PBA Philippine Cup title showdown to full distance.

The two teams fight for all the marbles at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Also at the Big Dome before a good weekend crowd, the Beermen worked on another mighty fightback, enabling them to bounce back from their Game Five loss and forge a third Game Seven in the last five all-Filipino tourneys.

Interestingly, the Beermen were also involved in the two previous Game Sevens, winning on both occasions - both against the Alaska Milk Aces.

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Coach Leo Austria and his troops hope to keep their good record in the "deciders" in a bid to stretch their all-Filipino reign to five years.

The two teams, however, are expected to figure in a slam-bang battle Wednesday.

Game Six was a lopsided game for the Beermen who got off to a jackrabbit start, leading by 21 points right in the first half and holding on to preserve the back-and-forth pattern of the series.

June Mar Fajardo proved he's not affected by the hit from "Spiderman" Friday, with the gentle giant coming out in his usual dominant self and delivering hulking numbers of 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and Christian Standhardinger had their moments as the Beermen foiled the Hotshots' first of two cracks at wrapping up the crown.

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The Hotshots waged a determined chase in the third, coming to within six at 62-68, but the Beermen reasserted themselves in the fourth and pulled away for good at 82-63.

Ross sparkled with a 5-of-5 three-point shooting in the first half while Lassiter was a big factor in the second half where he poured in the bulk of his 20-point effort.

"It's a team effort, period," said Lassiter.

"We know what it takes, but as important as that win is, we know that the series is not over yet. There's still a game to be played Wednesday and we have to come out with the same focus, same legs," Lassiter also said.

One Beermen also putting much focus and energy in Game Six was Standhardinger who came through with 16 markers and five rebounds.

The Hotshots didn't find an answer to all SMB's firepower with Paul Lee and Mark Barroca limited to a combined output of 16. (SB)

The scores:

San Miguel 98 - Fajardo 23, Lassiter 20, Ross 17, Standhardinger 16, Romeo 9, Santos 8, Cabagnot 3, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.

Magnolia 86 - Jalalon 17, Reavis 16, Sangalang 14, Brondial 12, Lee 10, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 5, Herndon 5, Melton 4, Simon 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 25-12, 50-36, 68-62, 98-86.