SMB, Phoenix stretch winning runs to three

SMB, Phoenix stretch winning runs to three

REYNALD MAGALLON

Marcio Lassiter caught fire from deep in the second half as San Miguel Beer added to the frustrations of Rain or Shine coming away with a 115-110 victory in the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Still groping for form in just his second game back from an ankle injury, Lassiter shrugged off a scoreless showing in the first half and drained six triples in the final two quarters – none bigger than the one that proved to be the dagger to the hearts of the hard-fighting Elasto Painters with 43 seconds left.

With the game tied 108-all, import Ivan Aska found Lassiter on a cross court pass to the right wing before the SMB gunner drilled the booming triple over the outstretched arms of defender Jhonard Clarito.

Lassiter was even fouled in that play and while he missed the bonus, the buffer brought by the big hit was enough for SMB to hold on and survive a career night from ROS guard Gian Mamuyac.

Lassiter wound up with 23 points while joining hands with CJ Perez, who after struggling with just three points to show in the first half, also exploded in the last two quarters to finish with 17 points apart from his 12 boards.

Aska remained a steady presence for SMB despite dealing with foul trouble, finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while June Mar Fajardo added 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks before hurting his left hand.

For the second straight game, an ROS guard put up another career outing, this time, with Mamuyac, dropping 33 points after leading a strong first half showing that saw the Elasto Painters take a 13-point lead.

Meantime, Phoenix proved to be too hot to handle for Terrafirma, surging to a convincing 103-84 victory and sustained its best start of the conference in five years

The Fuel Masters unleashed a blistering 20-2 run that all but torched the Dyip to ashes and improve to a 4-1 record in the standings – the franchise’s best start in the import-flavored conference since notching the same slate under former head coach Louie Alas and with high scoring import Eugene Phelps in tow.

Just like in that splendid run, Phoenix leaned on the stellar performance from the import with Johnathan Williams, dropping 29 points – 20 of which came in the first half including a stretch when he scored seven straight points during the telling Fuel Masters run.

He also added 13 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in the impressive showing while veterans RJ Jazul and Jason Perkins added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Young guns Tyler Tio and Ricci Rivero chipped in 10 apiece as the Fuel Masters also extended their winning run to three games while sending the Dyip to their second straight defeat for a 2-3 record in the standings.

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