THE San Miguel Beermen seek to sweep the Northport Batang Pier in their best-of-three PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals when they collide in Game Two on Thursday in Pampanga. — PBA IMAGES

THE San Miguel Beermen try to close out the Northport Batang Pier in their best-of-three Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup quarterfinal series in Game Two on Thursday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Took the series opener in cardiac fashion, 88-87, on Sunday, San Miguel now seeks to get the job done in the second game set for 2 p.m. and advance to the semifinal round.

“Northport will be playing with a heightened sense of urgency. They will do everything they can to extend the series and we have to be ready for that,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.

San Miguel snatched the early lead in the series on a game-winning jumper from veteran guard Alex Cabagnot.

Down by one, 87-86, with 5.1 seconds left in the game, after Northport’s Robert Bolick drained an improbable three-pointer from nearly half-court in the previous play, Mr. Cabagnot fielded the inbound pass and made his move to the basket before pulling up for the winner.

It was an escape act for the Beermen who saw the Batang Pier charge back late in the contest to make a serious run at the win.

The game-winner capped an eventful return for Mr. Cabagnot in the San Miguel fold after missing their entire elimination assignments in the Pampanga “semi-bubble” because of a knee injury.

He finished with a game-high 20 points. Mo Tautuaa had 15 points while reigning PBA player of the week CJ Perez added 14. June Mar Fajardo had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.

For Northport, it was Sean Anthony who led with 16 points, followed by Greg Slaughter with 15 points to go along with 10 boards.

Meanwhile, also gunning for a closeout are the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, who took the opener, 81-70, of their own quarterfinal series over the Rain or Shine Elastopainters.

Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang led their team in the grind-it-out win to move a win away from booking a semifinal spot.

Game Two of the Magnolia-Rain or Shine series will be played at 4:35 p.m., Thursday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo