Experience counted most for the San Miguel Beermen as they outplayed the TNT Tropang Giga from start to finish and came off with a 103-90 triumph on Friday at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Mo Tautuaa struck hardest with 24 points for the Beermen, who leveled their best-of-seven semifinal series at 3-all and set a deciding do-or-die Game 7 in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup semifinals.
Their game of death is set on Sunday.
The 6’8” Tautuaa made his presence felt the most in the second quarter when he and JuneMar Fajardo dominated with their inside plays.
Tautuaa scored on a putback with 10:57 left and handed the Beermen a 32-21 cushion in the early part of the second canto.
Fajardo sank another putback with 5:19 to go as the Beermen continued to move away, taking a 15-point spread, 41-26.
The lead even grew to as much as 24 when Terrence Romeo scored on a pair of driving attempts that sent the Beermen to an 86-62 edge in the final four seconds of the third. Romeo ended up with 16 points.
“Experience is no. 1. In this situation, we knew what to do and we knew how to lose or win a game,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.
Marcio Lassiter banged in 19 points and kept the the Tropang Giga at bay with his outside shots in the opening period and in the closing minutes of the game.
Two treys from Lassiter off a steal and after getting a pass from Fajardo saw the Beermen up by six at 8-2 as they kept their edge until the end of the period, 27-21.
Lassiter’s triple with 2:11 to go in the final canto then halted the Tropang Giga’s bid to comeback as the Beermen stayed up by 13, 101-88.
Jayson Castro and Ryan Reyes showed the way for TNT with 16 points apiece.