The San Miguel Beermen again tormented their familiar foes, the TNT KaTropa, as they triumphed, 97-91, in the first meeting between the teams in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel and TNT, who last faced off in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, both entered the game carrying 1-0 records but only the Beermen came out of it unscathed.
Three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo led the way for SMB with 27 points on 11-for-18 shooting while import Wendell McKines chipped in with 22 points and nine boards.
Marcio Lassiter also came up big, scoring 16 points and knocking down three three-pointers while doing most of his damage in the crucial fourth quarter.
With Jayson Castro attacking the rim aggressively and Troy Rosario and Anthony Semerad knocking down threes, TNT leapt out to a quick lead, 18-8, to start the ballgame.
The KaTropa finished the first period ahead, 24-17, with Castro leading the way with eight points – all in that opening salvo.
San Miguel made short work of that lead as they blasted nine unanswered points to start the second. The game remained close the rest of the half as neither team led by more than four points and back-to-back baskets from TNT late in the period knotting the ballgame at 40-all.
That trend continued in the third as SMB could lead by as much as six, 54-48, and TNT briefly stole away the lead after a triple from Anthony Semerad and a couple of free throws from RR Garcia, 65-64.
But Lassiter showed a sign of things to come as he entered in the last five seconds of the third and ran down the floor to beat the buzzer, 66-65.
The fourth belonged to the Beermen as ‘The Kraken’ dominated for six of the team’s first eight points and Lassiter scored five straight after that on a basket in the paint and a cold-blooded three in transition. That was enough to give SMB a nine-point lead, 80-71, with 7:05 left on the clock.
‘Super Marcio’ would score five more points on a stepback jumper from the baseline and a spot-up triple to help his team hold off the KaTropa.
Fajardo scored 12 points in the fourth while Lassiter came up with 10.
Import Michael Craig led TNT with 16 points and 18 rebounds while Castro finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.