Cabagnot's heroics saves San Miguel anew
Paul Lintag on Jan 28, 2017 07:25 PM
Alex Cabagnot once again came through in the clutch to bail the Beermen out.
Antipolo City --- The 2017 PBA Philippine Cup is for the San Miguel Beermen to lose.
The two-time defending champion Beermen continued their tear in the All-Filipino, scoring a hard-fought 98-94 victory over rival TNT Saturday at the Ynares Center here.
It was San Miguel's ninth straight win as the champs head to the playoffs armed with a 10-1 record. They also have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals by virtue of being the number one overall seed.
It what has been a routine situation every time San Miguel got into a little bit of trouble in the All-Filipino, Alex Cabagnot once again came through in the clutch to bail the Beermen out.
Tied at 94, Cabagnot buried a cold-blooded three to push the champs up, 97-94, with 26.7 seconds to go.
Larry Fonacier couldn't answer back for TNT on the other end and that was the ball game. Arwin Santos split his charities in for San Miguel to seal the final tally.
"In spite of a no bearing game for us, they played really hard," head coach Leo Austria talking about his players. "This kind of game is what we need going to the playoffs."
Three-time reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo led a top-heavy SMB offense with a dominant 20 points and 22 rebounds while Cabagnot came in second with 19 points.
Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter finished with 18 apiece for the champs.
Mo Tautuaa anchored the KaTropa with 20 points of his own while Jayson Castro accounted for 15 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
After losing a 10-point lead, the Beermen appeared to be headed for disaster as Castro's seven straight fourth-quarter points allowed TNT to take control.
Back-to-back Tautuaa baskets over Fajardo gave the KaTropa a 94-90 lead with less than three minutes to go but that proved to be TNT's final basket as the Beermen scored the game's last eight points for the win.
Despite losing, the KaTropa is still in the quarterfinals after wrapping up their regular season with a 6-5 mark. They are however, out of the running for the no. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat edge that comes along with it.
SAN MIGUEL 98 - Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Lassiter 18, Santos 18, Ross 9, Reyes 7, Espinas 4, Garcia 2, Agovida 1, Heruela 0, Tubid 0.
TNT 94 - Tautuaa 20, Castro 15, Fonacier 10, Rosales 10, De Ocampo 9, Carey 6, Reyes 6, Pogoy 6, Rosario 4, Williams 3, Rosser 3, Golla 2,
Quarters: 31-24, 53-50, 76-67, 98-94
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