SAN Miguel Beer stormed back from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to deal Rain or Shine a 109-105 defeat in the opener of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
June Mar Fajardo scored 36 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while Ronald Tubid and Chris Ross stepped up when the Beermen launched the comeback that razed a 91-71 lead Rain or Shine brought to the final quarter.
Tubid came off the bench to score 15 points while Ross had seven points and seven steals aside from hitting the big three-pointer that put the Beermen up, 108-105, with 1:30 minutes left after a long, arduous chase.
Misses from beyond the three-point arc by fit-again Paul Lee and Jeff Chan in the final seconds sealed Rain or Shine's doom before Arwind Santos made the free throws that wrapped up the win for the Beermen.
“This is unbelievable,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “I have to give credit to my players especially Chris Ross and Ronald Tubid.”
In all, the Beermen outscored the Elasto Painters, 38-14 in the fourth quarter for an unlikely 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven semifinal series that shifts to Game Two on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
'Extra Rice' partners JR Quinahan and Beau Belga each had 19 points for Rain or Shine, which led almost throughout but collapsed into a maze of errors when it uncharacteristically lost its poise in the endgame.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao was also slapped with a technical for bumping Ross during an inbound play at a time when his team had the game very much in control.
Ross and Belga were also slapped technicals after the commotion.
The result somehow mirrored the Beermen’s 101-95 victory in Game One of the 2015 Governors’ Cup semis series also against Rain or Shine last July 2, 2015 when SMB fought back from 24 points down.
SMB 109 - Fajardo 36, Santos 19, Tubid 15, Cabagnot 9, Lutz 9, Espinas 7, Ross 7, Lassiter 5, Araña 2, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0.
Rain or Shine 105 - Belga 19, Quinahan 19, Cruz 16, Tiu 12, Almazan 8, Lee 8, Ponferada 8, Norwood 7, Ahanmisi 4, Teng 4, Chan 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarterscores: 21-31, 50-68, 71-91, 109-105