PBA: Lassiter 3 saves San Miguel, helps Beermen close in on finals berth

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Marcio Lassiter’s heroics in the dying seconds of Game 3 pushed San Miguel on the brink of a second straight finals appearance. Courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Marcio Lassiter buried a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to help San Miguel beat Star 111-110 in the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

The Beermen now hold a 2-1 lead in their best-of-5 series and have a chance to move on to the finals with a victory on Friday.

With 13 seconds left and trailing 110-108, San Miguel scrambled to find a decent look at the basket as time wound down. A Chris Ross miss led to a chase for the loose ball that was tapped out by Star’s Ricardo Ratliffe and ended up in Lassiter’s hands.

Unfazed by Justin Melton’s glove-like defense, Lassiter hit the game-winner, spoiling a phenomenal game by Ratliffe, who almost singlehandedly rallied Star from 9 points down in the 4th quarter.

“Alam naman nating nanalo ang Golden State (Marcio’s) a big fan of Golden State and he’s taking a shot like Steph Curry. We’re very proud of him,” San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said.

“It’s a team effort, especially Charles Rhodes who really worked hard from start to finish and was able to manage his foul trouble.” 

Rhodes scored 36 points, while Ross added 27 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to lead San Miguel, which also beat Star by one point, 77-76, in a defense-oriented Game 2 on Monday.

“It doesn’t matter to us basta nasa amin ang W,” Austria said.

San Miguel held a 100-91 lead with 5:16 left in the game when Ratliffe started to assert himself on offense. 

He scored 13 of Star’s last 16 points, including a baby hook over Rhodes and Arwind Santos that put the Hotshots ahead 110-108. San Miguel then called timeout, which led to the Lassiter dagger. 

Ratliffe finished with 44 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 blocks playing all but 50 seconds in the game. 

Paul Lee, who was limited to 3 points in Game 2, scored 21 points for Star, which didn’t have enough time to get a shot off in close range after Lassiter’s game-winning 3.

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