After knowing how to come back from a previously insurmountable 0-3 deficit in a finals series, what was a triple-overtime game in the eliminations?
SAN Miguel Beer simply refused to lose as it outlasted NLEX, 131-127, in a thrilling triple overtime a match to remember on a rare Tueday playdate of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen saw Road Warriors import Al Thornton explode for 69 points, but it was SMB counterpart Tyler Wilkerson who had the last laugh as he tallied 58 to lead his team in emerging victorious from a grueling battle.
By bouncing back from its worst loss of the season and improving to a 6-3 win-loss card, SMB clinched a quarterfinal spot while derailing the Road Warriors’ bid as their victims fell to 5-5.
“Yung dalawang team ayaw magpatalo, pero kailangan may manalo,” a relieved SMB coach Leo Austria said after the first league game in six years - and just the 11th in history - to go into three extra periods.
“Give credit to my players.”
Alex Cabagnot and June Mar Fajardo also delivered some key baskets down the stretch, with Cabagnot scoring 12 of his 20 points in the first two extensions, and Fajardo adding seven straight to start the third OT that gave the Beermen enough cushion to finally prevail.
Thornton started things off with a long, desperation right-wing three-pointer over two defenders that beat the regulation buzzer to force the first extension.
The former NBA player also had the chance to win in the second OT, but his slam dunk came twose-tenths of a second shy of beating the buzzer.
Sean Anthony also nearly became a hero for the Road Warriors, scoring on a putback that forced second OT at 108-all and giving his team its last taste of the lead at 112-111.
San Miguel 131 - Wilkerson 58, Cabagnot 20, Fajardo 18, Santos 15, Lassiter 11, Ross 7, Semerad 2, De Ocampo 0, Espinas 0, Arana
NLEX 127 - Thornton 69, Anthony 24, Taulava 13, Villanueva E. 6, Villanueva J. 6, Alas 3, Borboran 3, Cardona 3, Apinan 0, Enciso 0, Lanete 0, Reyes R. 0.
Quarterscores: 30-16, 52-45, 80-73, 99-99, 108-108, 118-118, 131-127