Arwind Santos sank the go-ahead jumper with 1.2 seconds left as San Miguel staved off the hard-fighting pesky NorthPort, 88-86, for back-to-back wins in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, July 25 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Veteran forward Santos hit the uncontested game-winner off Marcio Lassiter’s assist at the top of the key, allowing the Beermen to survive the Batang Pier’s furious fightback and improve to 2-1.
Kevin Ferrer missed the potential win-stealing triple from the left corner for NorthPort as time expired.
The Batang Pier clawed its way back from a 65-81 deficit early in the fourth quarter and came knocking at the Beermen’s door on Greg Slaughter’s hook shot over June Mar Fajardo, 85-86, with 47.8 ticks remaining.
NorthPort tied the game at 86-all on Robert Bolick’s free throw with 7.3 seconds left after Santos got teed up for elbowing Sidney Onwubere during a scramble for the loose ball.
The 2013 PBA MVP nevertheless made up for his mistake with his clutch basket to seal the victory for San Miguel.
Coach Leo Austria still lauded the Beermen despite wasting away a massive lead in the final frame.
“It’s an ugly game for us in the 4th quarter but a win is a win,” said the multi-titled mentor.
CJ Perez topscored with 18 points on top of eight rebounds and five steals while Santos fired 17 markers, five boards and three blocks.
Alex Cabagnot chipped in 16 points, seven dimes and four rebounds even as Mo Tautuaa added 11 markers in the triumph.
Slaughter, playing his season debut after missing the first two games, immediately made his presence felt as tallied a 23-point, 17-board double-double but his effort was not enough to save NorthPort from falling to 1-2.
Bolick had 19 points, eight rebound and six assists while Onwubere, Jerrick Balanza and Jamie Malonzo had 12, 11 and 10 markers, respectively, for coach Pido Jarencio’s squad.
SAN MIGUEL 88 – Perez 18, Santos 17, Cabagnot 16, Tautuaa 11, Fajardo 8, Lassiter 6, Pessumal 6, Ross 3, Gamalinda 3,
NORTHPORT 86 – Slaughter 23, Bolick 18, Onwubere 12, Balanza 11, Malonzo 10, Taha 9, Rike 1, Ferrer 1, Faundo 0, Elorde 0, Doliguez 0
Quarters: 21-21, 52-45, 79-63, 88-86