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Beermen thwart Bolts to even series at 2-2

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Beermen thwart Bolts to even series at 2-2
San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo (15)
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines -- The PBA Philippine Cup finals is back to square one.

The San Miguel Beermen leveled the All-Filipino conference championship round at two games apiece after containing the Meralco Bolts, 111-101, in a wire-to-wire fashion Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Inspired by the Best Player of the Conference award, June Mar Fajardo flexed his muscles and scattered a season-high 28 points, 13 rebounds and a block for the Beermen, who survived a career night from Chris Newsome.

CJ Perez backstopped with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Beermen led by 10, 84-74, to start the fourth quarter after a layup by Jericho Cruz.

The Bolts then stormed back and cut the lead to just three, 85-88, after a pair of Newsome free throws.

But San Miguel retaliated with a 9-3 run capped by a 3-pointer by Marcio Lassiter to go up by nine, 97-88, with 4:24 to go.

This was enough separation for the defending champions, who even led by 12 points late.

Lassiter provided the spark with 18 points on an efficient 7-of-10 field goal shooting.

Vic Manuel and Terrence Romeo saw their first action in the finals series, scoring eight and seven points, respectively.

Newsome erupted for 40 points, six rebounds and four assists in the losing effort. He made 12 of his 18 field goals and sank all but one of his 15 free throws.

Chris Banchero added 21 points and four rebounds, while Cliff Hodge had 17 points, 10 rebounds and a block.

According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III,San Miguel is undefeated in 13 games this conference when scoring more than 100 points.

Game 5 will be on Friday, 7:30 p.m., at the same venue.

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