The Beermen also found a defensive scheme to neutralize TNT import Joshua Smith, who was held to 11 points and six rebounds, although he dished out five assists in nearly 18 minutes of play after tallying 21 points – the last two on the game-winning hook, and nine boards in Game One.
San Miguel wrests 2-1 finals lead as Alex Cabagnot runs rings around TNT KaTropa. SAN Miguel Beer reclaimed its tag as favorite in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals after frustrating TNT KaTropa, 109-97, in Game Three for a 2-1 lead on Sunday night at a packed Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen gained separation in a tight contest in the third quarter before overcoming the absence of Charles Rhodes for a crucial part of the payoff period due to foul trouble to prevail for the second straight game.
Rhodes still anchored the Beermen with 25 points and 20 boards, while Best Player of the Conference frontrunners Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross formed a lethal backcourt combination for the Beermen in front of a crowd of over 10,000 fans.
Marcio Lassiter also regained his touch as he drained two treys after missing his last 12 attempts from beyond the arc in the last three games, finishing with 16 points, seven assists, and one steal.
The backcourt production was sufficient enough that June Mar Fajardo didn’t have to do the heavy-lifting, contributing just six points on six attempts, five boards, two blocks, one assist, and one steal in 30 minutes.
Joshua Smith bounced back from a sub-par performance with 18 points, 14 boards, three assists, two blocks, and one steal in 24 minutes, while RR Garcia was one of the few bright spots for the TNT locals with 19 points and four assists.
Jayson Castro scored 17 points, but some of them were in garbage time as he also committed 10 turnovers in 30 minutes, while Roger Pogoy ended up scoreless for the second straight game even after seeing the most action among his teammates with 38 minutes.
SMB 109 – Cabagnot 28, Rhodes 25, Ross 17, Lassiter 16, Santos 10, Fajardo 6, Heruela 5, Semerad 2, Tubid 0, Espinas 0
TNT 97 – Garcia 19 Smith 18, Castro 17, Semerad 12, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Tautuaa 7, Reyes 7, Pogoy 0, Rosario 0
Quarterscores: 23-23, 46-47, 79-72, 109-97