SAN Miguel Beer pounced on Rain or Shine’s late miscues as it frustrated the Elasto Painters, 107-101, in overtime on Friday night to move closer to securing a twice-to-beat edge in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
The Beermen erased a six-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation, showing poise under pressure before finishing the job in overtime to pull off the great escape.
Alex Cabagnot knocked down the long jumper that forced overtime, before June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter took over in the extra session as the quarterfinals-assured Beermen hiked their win-loss record to 8-1 after a seventh successive win.
SMB, which won a day before team owner Ramon S. Ang celebrates his birthday, widened its gap over the Elasto Painters, who dropped to 5-3, allowing GlobalPort to gain a piece of second spot.
“Well-prepared team yung Rain or Shine. They know what to do against us, but my players refused to lose,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “May swerte rin kami, but this was a total team effort.”
The E-Painters looked poised to hand the Beermen only their second defeat this conference as they went ahead, 96-90, after a Beau Belga top-of-the-key three-pointer with two minutes and 42 seconds left.
The Beermen, however, had other plans, as they clawed back. Chris Ross made up for a miscue that gave the E-Painters an extra possession, with a steal on Belga that set the stage for the heroics of Cabagnot, who could’ve won the game for SMB in regulation outright had his right foot not touch the three-point line when he attempted his overtime-sending shot.
Fajardo scored four of his 25 points in the extra period, completing a dominant outing with 17 boards and one block in 36 minutes after scoring just nine points against Ginebra.
Belga finished with a team-high 14 points and five boards, and three steals in 32 minutes for the E-Painters, who missed prized slotman Raymond Almazan due to a calf injury.
SMB 107 – Fajardo 25, Santos 17, Garcia 17, Lassiter 14, Cabagnot 14, De Ocampo 12, Ross 4, Espinas 4, Tubid 0
ROS 101 – Belga 14, Tiu 13, Chan 11, Ponferada 9, Cruz 9, Ahanmisi 9, Maiquez 8, Washington 8, Norwood 6, Tolomia 4, Trollano 4, Yap 3, Matias 3
Quarterscores: 32-28, 56-49, 71-75, 96-96, 107-101