SAN Miguel solidified its hold on the top spot but not before surviving a scare in the payoff period and escape with a 108-106 victory over Kia Picanto in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Beermen notched their second straight victory as the eliminations near its close and registered an 8-2 win-loss record while dealing the Picanto their sixth straight loss as they languish at the cellar with a 1-10 card.
San Miguel moved on the verge of a twice-to-beat advantage, but its battle with Kia will serve as a wake-up call.
You see, the Beermen were comfortably ahead with a 26-point lead but suddenly found themselves on the losing end as the Picanto -- with pride to gain and nothing to lose -- chipped away the lead and almost pulled off a stunning upset save for Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter’s clutch plays.
This was not lost on San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“Yung basketball sense nila (Lassiter and Ross), nandun, pero kung hindi nangyari yun, it could’ve been a disaster for us, and not a good sign heading into the playoffs,” Austria said.
He added that his wards should never be complacent no matter how big the lead is.
“They thought it was a won game already. Everybody nag-relax,” he added.
Ross made a perfect bounce pass to Lassiter who went for a quick undergoal basket in the last 1.8 seconds, lifting San Miguel Beer to the thrilling win.
Actually, it was the Picanto who had the first chance to shatter the 106-all count forged by the Beermen through Lassiter’s triple, but Picanto’s designated shooter Glenn Khobuntin was rejected by Arwind Santos near the freethrow line.
Gabby Espinas then picked up the loose ball and quickly sued for timeout.
With the expected tight defense from the Picanto, Ross opted for a rare bounce inbound pass to Lassiter who went for an undergoal shot to shatter the 106-all count.
San Miguel (108) -- Santos 27, Lassiter 22, Pessumal 11, De Ocampo 10, Heruela 9, Ross 9, Espinas 8, Vigil 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 5, Mamaril 2, Agovida 0, Lanete 0, Semerad 0.
Kia (106) -- Khobuntin 15, Corpuz 12, Gabriel 10, McCarthy 10, Yee 10, Cabrera 9, Celda 8, Camson 8, Tubid 7, Ababou 6, Jamon 5, Escoto 4, Lastimosa 2, Sara 0, Galanza 0.
Quarterscores: 29-23, 61-41, 91-71, 108-106.