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Poised Perez helps Beermen tie series vs Bolts

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite missing a big 3-pointer that would have given San Miguel the lead late in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals, CJ Perez kept his composure and sparked a huge comeback for the Beermen to tie the series against the Meralco Bolts 1-1.

Meralco was leading by one, 90-89, with about a minute to go after a Bong Quinto layup.

Perez, on the other end, attempted a 3-pointer that would have given them the lead. But he missed.

In the next possession, Bolts guard Chris Banchero sank a triple with 27 seconds remaining to help Meralco go up by four, 93-89.

In most cases, the four-point lead that late in the game is insurmountable.
Perez and the Beermen, though, are not just another team.

Perez connected on a triple a few seconds after, cutting the lead to two.

A split from the line by Banchero gave the defending champions an opportunity to tie or take the lead, but Marcio Lassiter punched in the game-winning 3-pointer with 13 seconds to go to tie the series up.

After the game, the hotshot Perez underscored that he needed to keep shooting and keep his composure to help the team get the crucial win.

“Yes, I just kept my composure and of course, as I said, everything is not always perfect. If I miss some, I will still shoot,” he told reporters in Filipino.

“There are some people who say that I am a ballhog. Yes, I am a ballhog. That’s the way it is. I’m just trying to help my team, and of course, every game, I will give my 110%,” he added.

Perez led all scorers with a career finals-high 34 points on 12-of-28 shiooting.

He made five of his 3-pointers as he also tallied five assists, four rebounds and five steals.

“Whatever happens, I just go and go.”

For his part, San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent said that whatever happens, the team has full trust in Perez and Lassiter.

“CJ’s always been like that for us the past two to three seasons. When we need baskets, we’re not hesitant to go to him, him and Marcio,” the coach stressed.

“Before the play, when we were down by four, it was either him or Marcio because we needed that 3-point shot. But no, we’re not hesitant to let them shoot that ball, especially coming into crunchtime,” he added.