Santos stars as San Miguel lives another day, trips Alaska in OT
Arwind Santos played his best game of the finals and San Miguel Beer outlasted Alaska, 86-73, in overtime anew to extend their 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup championship duel on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Santos, who took flak for playing poorly in the first three games of the series, did it all with 22 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, four steals and four blocks for the Beermen, who survived their second do-or-die game.
READ: Fajardo makes surprise return in PBA Finals game 5
“They showed their big heart and I think that’s the heart of a champion. They don’t want to lose. They’re playing to win,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
“I talked to him (Santos) before the game and I told him, ‘I don’t need your scoring, what I want from you is your rebounding and defense,’” Austria said.
Dondon Hontiveros sent the game into OT, 67-all, on a wide-open 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left in regulation that capped a 12-5 Aces run in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter.
But come overtime, it was all San Miguel. The Beermen scored the first 11 points in OT to take a 78-67 lead with 1:17 remaining.
The Aces were scoreless until Vic Manuel sank a free throw with 1:15 left and won’t hit a field goal until Calvin Abueva made a basket with 54.4 ticks to go.
The Beermen, who won Game 4 in dramatic fashion as well, 110-104, last Sunday at Philsports Arena, caught everyone off guard with the surprise return of their superstar center June Mar Fajardo.
Fajardo, who missed the first four games of the finals due to a swollen left knee, had 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and four rebounds in 16 minutes and 29 seconds of action.
Manuel set a career-high with 25 points that went with 13 rebounds while Abueva also posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 34 seconds left.
Game 6 is on Friday night also at the Big Dome.
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