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