Beermen overcome Thornton, NLEX in 3OT
San Miguel Beer outlasted NLEX, 131-127, in triple overtime to clinch a quarterfinals spot in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Tyler Wilkerson fired 58 points while also getting ample support from the locals led by Alex Cabagnot and reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo for the Beermen, who redeemed themselves after a 26-point loss to Barangay Ginebra last Sunday.
“I have to give credit to my players,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria. “One thing I like about my players is that they really want to win. Maybe our experience in the championship showed in this game.”
San Miguel Beer overcame an incredible performance by NLEX import Al Thornton, who unleashed 69 points on 26-of-47 shooting from the field that went with 19 rebounds.
The former NBA veteran scored 39 points in the fourth quarter and three extra periods, including a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the game into first OT and a drive that forced the third OT at 118-all.
There wasn’t supposed to be a third extension had Thornton’s dunk counted. He had a golden opportunity to win the game but upon review, his two-handed dunk came just 0.1 tenth of a second shy of beating the buzzer in the second OT.
“I should’ve laid it in instead,” Thornton recalled.
His last basket cut the Beermen’s lead down to four and a follow up by Sean Anthony made it a two-point game, 129-127, with still 23.6 seconds remaining.
Marcio Lassiter calmly sank two free throws to give SMB a four-point cushion before NLEX, which dropped to 5-5, missed several tries, including a couple by Thornton, as time ran out.
This marked only the 11th time in PBA history that a game went into three overtimes, as per league head statistician Fidel Mangonon. But it wasn’t too long ago the last time it happened. Last year in the same conference, Star beat TNT, 118-117, in Davao.