Beermen overcome big lead, beat Painters in semis opener
Defending champion San Miguel Beer rose from 20 points in the fourth quarter to shock Rain or Shine, 109-105, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semifinals series in the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup Tuesday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen, who are coming off a 20-day layoff after securing an outright semis berth, came out flat and trailed by as much as 20, 91-71, entering the final frame.
June Mar Fajardo led San Miguel Beer with 36 points and 18 rebounds while Ronald Tubid made timely 3-pointers during the run to finish with 15 points.
“I don’t know what to say. This is unbelievable,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
“June Mar’s numbers are given. You can see in his body language that he really wants to win,” Austria said of his star center.
The reigning back-to-back MVP tied the game at 103 with two free throws before hitting a jumper over Beau Belga 19 seconds later for a 105-103 Beermen lead with 2:23 remaining.
Paul Lee, who appeared in his first game this season after recovering from a left knee injury, scored all of his eight points in the fourth quarter, including a baseline jumper over Fajardo that knotted the count at 105 with 1:57 left.
The Beermen were 4-of-19 from the three-point area through the first three quarters before going 6-of-12 in the last period. Their last 3-pointer couldn’t have been any bigger with Chris Ross, a poor outside shooter, bailing out his team as the shot clock was winding down that broke the final deadlock of the game with 1:33 to go.
Arwind Santos also chalked up a big double-double with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Ross had seven points and seven steals.
Game 2 is on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.