SAN Miguel lived to fight another day after holding off NorthPort, 98-84, on Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Chris McCollough led the charge for the seventh-seeded Beermen, who withstood wave after wave of NorthPort comebacks to force a sudden-death match against the second seeds on Wednesday for a place in the Final Four.
McCollough, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, was instrumental in a late 16-0 run that led the Beermen to safe waters after the Batang Pier cut the lead to one, 82-81, in the fourth quarter.
“We were able to get this win and get a chance to redeem ourselves from our first loss against them,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria, whose team lost to the Batang Pier in their lone eliminations match.
“They understand our situation right now. We know we are not comfortable with this position but they gave us a chance to win,” Austria added.
McCollough capped a 21-7 run with a dunk to put the Beermen ahead, 68-52. Moments later, Marcio Lassiter hit a three for the largest lead of the game, 71-54.
Robert Bolick, however, led NorthPort back, hitting a three to cut the San Miguel lead down to 78-77. Sean Anthony nailed two of his three free throws to cut the gap again to one, 82-81, but NorthPort didn’t score a field goal again until Lervin Flores’ garbage-time dunk in the dying seconds of the match.
Chris Ross also had an impressive game for the Beermen with 18 points while Arwind Santos scored 15 points while going 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. June Mar Fajardo added 11 points and 19 rebounds.
Bolick topscored with 20 points while Mo Tautuaa added 12 for NorthPort. Import Prince Ibeh contributed 12 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks but fouled out with still three minutes remaining.
San Miguel 98 – McCollough 24, Ross 18, Santos 15, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 8, Standhardinger 7, Romeo 6, Cabagnot 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Pessumal 0, Vigil 0.
NorthPort 84 – Bolick 20, Ibeh 12, Tautuaa 12, Taha 11, Mercado 7, Anthony 6, Ferrer 6, Lanete 4, Elorde 2, Cruz 2, Flores 2, Gabayni 0.
Quarters: 28-18; 47-42; 73-65; 98-84.