PBA playoffs: San Miguel lives to fight another day, turns back no. 2 NorthPort
MANILA, Philippines–June Mar Fajardo and import Chris McCullough came through in the clutch anew, this time averting a meltdown and keeping San Miguel Beer’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign alive after a 98-84 pounding of NorthPort Sunday night at Araneta Coliseum.
The pair, who conspired in the Beermen’s escape from Rain or Shine over a week ago, spearheaded a 16-point pull-away to set-up a do-or-die clash on Wednesday.
Coach Leo Austria heaved a sigh of relief in the post-game presser: “It was a good game for us as we’re able to get this win and a chance to redeem ourselves from our loss [to them] in the eliminations.”
“They humiliated us in that game,” he added, stressing the close shave that would have dealt them an even mortifying defeat had they bowed down to the second-ranked and twice-to-beat Batang Pier.
McCullough paced San Miguel with 24, while Fajardo added 11. Chris Ross and Arwind Santos—both who were instrumental for the squad’s early hot start— tossed in 18 and 15, respectively.
“I’m glad because they understand our situation right now. We knew that we’re not comfortable with this position, [yet] they gave us a chance to win,” Austria said of his charges.
“Their composure was intact. They know how to handle situations like this,” Austria added, pointing to that NorthPort fightback in the final frame.
The Batang Pier turned to rookie Robert Bolick, who finished with 20 points, for leadership, while three more tossed in twin digits in scoring.
The two squads dispute the right to advance to the semifinal round this Wednesday, again at the Big Dome.