San Miguel Beer escaped Star, 77-76, to even their semifinals series at 1-1 in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Monday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
Charles Rhodes finished with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds for the Beermen, who bounced back from a 109-105 defeat in Game 1.
Hotshots’ Paul Lee back-ironed his potential game-winning floater as time expired.
Game 3 is on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We were just lucky that Paul Lee’s last shot missed. But even though it’s just a one-point win, I’ll take it wholeheartedly,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
San Miguel survived Ricardo Ratliffe’s 25-point, 35-rebound game, the fourth most rebounds in a PBA game and the second most in the playoffs behind Michael Hackett’s 45.
Alex Cabagnot added 13 markers, seven boards, and three assists, while June Mar Fajardo chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds for San Miguel.
Arwind Santos drilled the go-ahead trey that put San Miguel up, 77-74, with 3:42 left.
Mark Barroca had a chance to tie the game with an and-one play with 43.1 seconds remaining, but he muffed his bonus freebie. He would atone for that miscue with a steal on a Fajardo cross-court pass to give the Hotshots one final chance with 23.0 ticks left, but Lee missed the game-winner late against the defense of Santos and Chris Ross.
“This is the kind of games we’re expecting. I know what Star is thinking right now before the game. They want to win and to bring us down to 2-0. But I have to commend all the players, because they know that they have a role to do. Star knows our weakness and our strength and it’s a chess match. I hope next game, we’ll get the momentum because of this win,” said Austria.
Jio Jalalon added a career-best 18 markers and two boards in the losing effort.
SAN MIGUEL 77 – Rhodes 21, Cabagnot 13, Fajardo 12, Lassiter 11, Ross 10, Tubid 5, Santos 3, Espinas 2, Heruela 0.
STAR 76 – Ratliffe 25, Jalalon 18, Sangalang 12, Maliksi 5, Ramos 5, Barroca 4, Melton 4, Lee 3, Reavis 0, Simon 0.
Quarters: 25-16, 44-30, 58-60, 77-76.