PBA Commissioner's Cup: San Miguel outshines Star to even semis series

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) ­— The San Miguel Beermen have drawn level.

San Miguel transformed their series against the Star Hotshots into a virtual best-of-three situation in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup semifinals matchup with a 77-76 victory on Monday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Charles Rhodes paced San Miguel with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Beermen were in control early on, besting Star in the first two quarters to grab a 44-30 advantage going into the halftime break.

But the Hotshots would not go down without a fight, outscoring San Miguel 30-14 in the third frame alone to grab the advantage before the payoff period, 60-58.

It all boiled down to the final possession with the Beermen up 77-76, after Star Marc Barroca grabbed an errant JuneMar Fajardo pass to give the Hotshots the chance for the final shot with 23 ticks left on the clock.

To the relief of San Miguel, Paul Lee could not convert on his potential game winning shot as time wound down.

Star import Ricardo Ratliffe notched 25 markers and 35 rebounds in the loss.

After the game, San Miguel head coach Leo Austria credited the Star defense in the second half and hoped his team would find their shooting touch in Game 3.

"I hope next time mailabas namin yung arsenal namin, dahil this is not really our game yet," Austria admitted. "Maybe because of deliberate basketball, or the defense of the other team."

The Star Hotshots and the San Miguel Beermen will contest the series lead in Game 3 on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.