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PBA: SMB rallies to beat TNT

Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer (PBA Images)

Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer (PBA Images)

by Jonas Terrado

Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs GlobalPort
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska

San Miguel Beer came back from a 23-point deficit to claim a 121-110 victory over TNT KaTropa at the start of their best-of-three PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night, a result the KaTropa placed under protest.

The defending champion Beermen scored 16 straight points while holding the KaTropa scoreless for about four minutes to complete the rally from a 46-23 deficit in the second quarter and move a win shy of advancing to the semifinals of the midseason conference.

SMB’s win, however, may be put on hold, if TNT decides today to pursue a formal protest after its team manager Virgil Villacencio signed the scoresheet indicating the complaint shortly after the final buzzer.

It is un unknown why TNT intends such a move at press time but coach Nash Racela and Villacencio had been visibly frustrated with what they perceived was loose officiating as the final minutes were winding down.

TNT has until 12 noon today to submit a formal letter of protest to the Commissioner’s Office in Libis, Quezon Cityb and the accompanying P20,000 bond. Without both, no complaint will be entertained as per league rules.

Among them were technicals called on Smith and Jayson Castro for profane language and second motion and the TNT import fouling out on two infractions during the KaTropa dry spell.

While the KaTropa are up in arms, the Beermen are more worried at how to close out the series on Wednesday night at the same venue after pulling off an escape act.

“That win was really scary,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria. “We never thought that we would come back from such a big deficit, but I have to give credit to my players because they kept their focus and composure.”

Renaldo Balkman had another all-around show with 36 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks even as June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter added 27 and 26 points for the Beermen.

Smith and Roger Pogoy each scored 17 points. (With report from Waylon Galvez)

First game
San Miguel 121 – Balkman 36, Fajardo 27, Lassiter 26, Santos 10, Ross 9, Cabagnot 6, Rosser 4, Nabong 3, Heruela 0, Vigil 0.

TNT 110 – Smith 17, Pogoy 17, Williams 16, Romeo 13, Semerad 11, Castro 10, Trollano 10, Rosario 9, Cruz 5, Taha 2, Garcia 0, Paredes 0, Golla 0, Carey 0, Reyes 0, Tamsi 0.

Quarters: 21-40, 48-62, 86-88, 121-110.