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    Arwind, McCullough to the rescue as SMB survives giant NorthPort scare

    Jul 24, 2019
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    SAN Miguel survived a giant scare from NorthPort, pulling off a thrilling 90-88 win on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Arwind Santos scored five clutch points after SMB blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead while Chris McCollough scored on a layup and a free throw to give the Beermen back the lead, 90-88, with 11.2 seconds remaining.

    The Beermen, however, only got to breathe easy after NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick - whose banked shot gave the Batang Pier an 88-87 lead - failed to put up a good shot under pressure from SMB's defense as the clock ran out.

    With the victory, the seventh-seed Beermen wiped out the twice-to-beat advantage of second seed NorthPort to book a place in the semifinals.

    The Beermen became only the second team after Meralco to overcome such an advantage given to a second-seeded side.

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    “After the first game, we thought that it’s too easy to beat them but I have to give credit to the coaching staff of NorthPort because they prepared really hard. They have a good plan for this game,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

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    “We are lucky we got all the breaks especially in the last three possessions,” said Austria, whose team will face either Blackwater or Rain or Shine in the best-of-five semifinals.

    McCollough led the Beermen with 31 points and 11 rebounds while Marcio Lassiter scored 11 points before sitting out the entire second half due to a knee injury. He was taken to a hospital for an MRI.

    Garvo Lanete scored 22 points including triples that helped the Batang Pier overcome a 79-63 deficit – the largest of the match – and make it a close game in the fourth period. Tautuaa had 20 points, while Prince Ibeh had 15 points and 20 rebounds.

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    Bolick scored 13 points but emotional mess after the loss as NorthPort teammates and San Miguel players consoled him.

    The scores:

    San Miguel 90 – McCollough 31, Lassiter 11, Cabagnot 10, Santos 10, Fajardo 8, Standhardinger 8, Romeo 5, Pessumal 3, Ross 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2.

    NorthPort 88 – Lanete 22, Tautuaa 20, Ibeh 15, Bolick 13, Anthony 10, Taha 4, Elorde 2, Ferrer 2, Mercado 0, Cruz 0.

    Quarters: 27-21; 39-43; 62-72; 90-88.

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    PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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