MANILA — San Miguel pulled off a huge second half to down TNT, 111-102, in Game 5 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City Friday night.
The Beermen regained their shooting touch just after the intermission and rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to take a 3-2 lead against the KaTropa in the best-of-seven championship series.
A huge 35-17 second quarter pushed TNT to a 61-46 lead after the first half but SMB opened the third quarter on a 20-4 run to regain the lead, 66-65. The game would remain tight until the end of the period.
The Beermen looked to pull off a breakaway as they stretched their lead to 12, 107-95, with three minutes remaining in the game.
The KaTropa, however, went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to five, 107-102, with 1:18 to go and even had a chance to inch closer after Kelly Williams blocked Chris Ross’ layup.
SMB’s defense, however, forced Jayson Williams to a tough three-point attempt that he muffed, and Alex Cabagnot found Arwind Santos for an open layup with 34.2 seconds left that turned out to be the dagger.
Cabagnot finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Santos added 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, eight rebounds, one assist, five blocks, and two steals for the Beermen, who can clinch their first Commissioner’s Cup title since 2000 back at “The Big Dome” on Sunday night.
Charles Rhodes chipped in 20 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal, while Marcio Lassiter bucked a poor outside shooting clip and contributed 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Chris Ross had his double-double of 10 points and 11 assists, with four assists and five steals, while Junemar Fajardo had a quiet nine points, five rebounds, and one block, although unlike in Game 4 where he fouled out, he only committed one foul.
Ranidel De Ocampo led TNT with 19 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
San Miguel 111: Cabagnot 28, Santos 27, Rhodes 20, Lassiter 17, Ross 10, Fajardo 9, Heruela 0, Espinas 0, D. Semerad 0, Tubid 0, De Ocampo 0
TNT 102: De Ocampo 19, Rosales 16, Smith 15, Rosario 12, A. Semerad 12, Castro 12, Reyes 6, Garcia 3, Tautuaa 3, Pogoy 2, Williams 2, Nuyles 0
Quarterscores: 29-26, 46-61, 82-79, 111-102. Ivan Saldajeno/PNA-northboundasia.com