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SMB fends off TNT for 2-1 Finals lead

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) In an ill-tempered game that featured some near-skirmishes, the San Miguel Beermen displayed their cool in the closing stretches to fend off the TNT KaTropa, 109-97, in Game 3 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

On-court physicality in the first half and off-court drama during the halftime break involving TNT's reserve imports only served to pump up the Beermen, who surged to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Finals series.

SMB's Alex Cabagnot was named Best Player of the Game. Photo courtesy of PBA Media Bureau
San Miguel's backcourt tandem of Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot came up with the biggest shots in the fourth quarter, further living up to their billing as the leading Best Player of the Conference candidates. Cabagnot had a team-high 28 points on top of nine rebounds and six assists, while Ross shook off a flagrant foul in the second quarter to score nine of his 17 points in the final frame.

"We did not have any major adjustment (in this game)," said SMB coach Leo Austria, whose team routed TNT, 102-88, in Game 2 last Friday to equalize the Finals series. "We just kept our intensity high."

"But it's far from over. We don't want to celebrate this game, because this win is nothing yet," the coach stressed. "We need to prepare for our fourth game."

The already emotionally charged series took another turn in the second period, when Ross engaged in trash talk with TNT's reserve import Mike Myers and Michael Craig, the KaTropa's reinforcement for the third conference.

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/06/25/17/pba-smb-fends-off-tnt-for-2-1-finals-lead

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