PBA: San Miguel draws first blood in semis, turns back Rain or Shine | Inquirer Sports

PBA: San Miguel draws first blood in semis, turns back Rain or Shine

/ 09:11 PM July 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines–San Miguel Beer bucked a lethargic start to pull the rug from under Rain or Shine, 111-105, and open its PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on a winning note Saturday night at Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

And while coach Leo Austria was pleased with the result, the decorated mentor believes that there is much polishing to be done.

“We are so stubborn. I think that’s one thing we have to address because they’re allowing our opponents to gain confidence,” he told reporters shortly after the victory that put them on the driver seat of their best-of-five contest.

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The Beermen found themselves trailing the Elasto Painters, who reactivated veteran James Yap in the opening quarter,  but managed to crawl back into games, thanks to the marksmanship of Chris Ross in the third and the steady hands of Christian Standhardinger in the payoff frame.

Import Chris McCullough scattered 32 points and grabbed 14 boards to lead the Beermen, while Standhardinger and Ross chipped in 20 and 19 more to cap their respective sterling performances and step to the plate when reigning Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo was held to just nine points to go with a single rebound.

San Miguel was also missing the services of sniper Marcio Lassiter, who is out with an MCL sprain.

“They were able to neutralize June Mar,” Austria said. “I’m lucky I have a lot of big man—like Christian Standhardinger—who did well.”

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The Painters drew a 20-point and 17-rebound showing from reinforcement Carl Montgomery while four more—including quarterfinal hero Rey Nambatac—tossed in double digit scores.

Rain or Shine’s import, though, was left doing all the heavy lifting in the final quarter, where San Miguel’s troika of topscorers kept their feet on the pedal.

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The Beermen, finalists of the midseason conference, try to close in on the finals berth with a win on Monday, 7 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

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TAGS: Basketball, PBA semifinals, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, San Miguel Beermen, Sports

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