San Miguel had a harder outing this time around, but it was the same result for the No. 1-ranked Beermen as it squeaked past Talk N Text, 87-81, to take a 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alex Cabagnot scored 21 points while reigning PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo had 15 points and 12 rebounds as San Miguel took a commanding series lead early.
The Beermen rolled past the Tropang Texters in Game One last Friday, but faced a much tougher stand in this one.
Talk N Text played much better defence against Fajardo in Game Two, limited him to five points over the first three periods but the 6-foot-10 slot man came through in the end, scoring 10 of the Beer men’s last 11 points in the game.
Fajardo shot just 2-for-11 from the field but went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line, including eight free throws in last 4:11 of the fourth quarter, helping San Miguel secure the win in crunch time.
Jayson Castro had an outstanding performance for Talk N Text with 26 points, including five three-pointers, but it was not enough for the Tropang Texters.
San Miguel threatened to turn this game, much like Game One, into a blowout early. With Arwind Santos and Cabagnot raining three-pointers down on the Tropang Texters, the Beermen led by as much as 10 in the opening period before settling for a 25-19 lead at the end of the quarter.
Santos got the ball rolling for the San Miguel side, hitting two threes as part of an 11-0 run. Cabagnot would enter the game from the bench at the 5:05 mark and promptly knocked down three consecutive triples the last one on a four-point play that gave the Beermen a 23-13 advantage.
San Miguel started the second period strong with a pair of Fajardo free throws giving the team a 32-22 lead but Talk N Text put a stiff response, quickly going on an 8-0 run to come to within two, 32-30.
The Tropang Texters would rally again late in the half, scoring eight of the last 10 points heading into the break.
San Miguel led Talk N Text by a single point, 41-40, at the half.
Cabagnot led the Beermen with 14 points while Santos had 10.
Castro, who was held to just six points in the series opener, doubled that in the first half of Game Two, scattering 12 points over the first two periods of this one.
In the third, some early three-pointers from Castro and Jay Washington sparked Talk N Text as the team took a five-point lead early, 53-48.
San Miguel, though, came back behind Chris Lutz and Ronald Tubid to end the period ahead, 63-61.
Castro hit two three-pointers his fourth and fifth of the game early in the final period and Kelly Williams scored in transition to tie the ballgame at 71-all with 8:20 left to play.
But Lutz and Marcio Lassiter would hit some free throws and Fajardo would score in the post in a 5-0 burst for the Beermen as they gained some much-needed separation, 78-72.
Talk N Text would get big shots from Washington, Ranidel De Ocampo, Castro and Larry Fonacier in the dying minutes but could not make any headway as Fajardo answered each with a scintillating performance from the charity stripe down the stretch.
The Tropang Texters missed several free throws, shooting just 12-for-24 from the line.
The scores were as follows :
SAN MIGUEL (87) – Fajardo 15, Lutz 14, Cabagnot 21, Santos 10, Lassiter 8, Tubid 7, Fortuna 5, , Maierhofer 2, Pascual 3 Ross 2, Omolon 0, Chua 0, Kramer 0,Semerad 0.
TALK N TEXT (81) –Washington 17, Rosser 11, Castro 26, De Ocampo 10, Carey 6, Aban 3, Fonacier 4, Williams 2, Seigle 2, Alapag 0, Alas 0, Reyes R.J. 0, Reyes R. 0, Espiritu 0.
Quarterscores: 25-19, 41-40, 63-61, 87-81.