Defending champion San Miguel Beer using three-point shots late in the match snatched Game 1 from Rain or Shine, 109-105, at the start of the other best-of-seven semifinals showdown of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday.
Down by 20 points at the start of fourth quarter, the Beermen, through the three-point shots of Ronald Tubid and playmaker Chris Ross erased the deficit and grab the lead 108-105 with only few seconds remaining.
“I don’t know what to say this is unbelievable. We were down by 20 points and we still won this game,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the post-game interview. “Credit to my players Chris Ross and Ronald Tubid’s clutch baskets.”
“Our pressure defense worked against Rain or Shine, which is also a good defensive team.”
Two-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo posted 36 points via 13-of-22 shooting in the field and 10-of-12 in foul line. He also notched 18 rebounds, five blocks and three assists to lead the Beermen.
Forward Arwind Santos finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Tubid posted 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter including the crucial treys in the last minute mark. Chris Lutz and Alex Cabagnot posted nine points each also for the Beermen.
Beau Belga and JR Quinahan scored 19 points apiece to lead the Elasto Painters.
The Elasto Painters, relying on the experience they gained in the playoff round, opened the series on a high note outscoring the Beermen in the first period 31-21. The front¬line pair of Belga and Quinahan joined forces down the stretch of the second period to stretch Rain or Shine’s lead at halftime 68-50.
The 6’5 Belga scored eight of his 16 halftime points in the second period while Quinahan posted 12 of his 15 halftime points in the second frame.
Rain or Shine using their run-and-gun game and tight defense stretched their lead to 91-71 entering the fourth quarter.
San Miguel Beer outscored Rain or Shine in the fourth quarter 38-14 to seize the win.
Ross, who had seven points and a career-high seven steals, scored a three-pointer with 38 seconds left to hand the Beermen the victory.
Meanwhile, playmaker Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort expects Alaska to come out stronger in Game 2 in the other best-of-seven semifinals battle today at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier are aiming for a 2-0 lead in the series.
“Definitely they [Alaska] will come out stronger and try to be more efficient in Game 2,” Pringle, who had 14 points in Game 1, told The Manila Times in an interview. “It’s not yet over. We just have to keep going and remain consistent.”
Guard Terrence Romeo powered GlobalPort’s 107-93 victory over Alaska in Game 1 by posting a career-high 41 points.
Veteran Billy Mamaril, Anthony Jay Washington, Joseph Yeo, Anthony Semerad and Keith Jensen, among others, are also expected to step up for GlobalPort.
The Aces, on the other hand, eye to equalize the series.
“They [GlobalPort] beat us fair and square and we missed a ton of free throws,” said Alaska mentor Alex Compton. “Thank God, we were not in that knockout game. Every player, every team, sometimes are a collective flat.”
The Aces will bank on Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, Vic Manuel, Cyrus Baguio, Jayvee Casio, RJ Jazul, Dondon Hontiveros, Eric Menk and Nonoy Baclao, among others in Game 2.