ROS' Alex McLean gets harassed under the basket by San Miguel defenders. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen needed a strong salvo in the final minute of the game to repulse the Rain or Shine E-Painters, 112-107, in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Wednesday.
The Beermen led as much as 16 points midway the game but saw their advantage wiped out when Rain or Shine import Alex McLean led a run that pushed the Elasto Painters ahead, 101-98.
Fortunately for San Miguel, Arwind Santos nailed a 3-pointer, which started a 9-0 rally that held off Rain or Shine.
Santos, the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player, finished the game with 19 points. Chris Ross also had a superb game for San Miguel, tallying 22 points and 10 assists to go with his 5 rebounds and 5 steals.
“We expect that effort from Chris Ross everytime. That’s why he’s the captain of the team,” said the Beermen’s consultant Todd Purves on the PBA website.
“It’s more about consistent effort from him, from a defensive perspective, its always his priority. So when he has a good shooting night like tonight, it’s just an excellent game.”
Three other Beermen churned out double figures to help San Miguel register its third win in 4 games. Import Kevin Jones had 33 points and 15 rebounds, while Marcio Lassiter and June Mar had 19 and 11, respectively.
The victory somewhat avenged San Miguel’s semifinals loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup. The Beermen (then known as the Petron Blaze Boosters) were booted out of finals contention after losing the best-of-7 series to the Elasto Painters, 4-1.
McLean had 33 points in the San Miguel-Rain or Shine rematch. Paul Lee and Beau Belga were the only other Elasto Painters who came up with double figures with 13 and 12, respectively.
The loss ruined the day for birthday boys Yeng Guiao and his assistant coach Caloy Garcia.
Purves said they never underestimated Rain or Shine, which is always capable of mounting a huge comeback.
“They’re so well coached and they’re so mentally tough that they were able to fight back every single time. So if I didn’t anticipate them continuing to fight late in the game, I’d be fooled. I’ll always expect them to continue fighting and making a run on us,” he said.
Despite staring at a 7-point deficit in the dying seconds, the Elasto Painters made it a 4-point game through Jeff Chan’s triple.
But McLean and Gabe Norwood missed their attempts in the ensuing possessions and failed to save Rain or Shine from its second defeat in 3 games.
San Miguel Beer 112 - Jones 33, Ross 22, Lassiter 19, Santos 19, Fajardo 11, Duncil 3 Tubid 3, Kramer 2, Maierhofer 0, Hubalde 0, Lutz 0.
Rain or Shine 107 - McLean 33, Lee 13, Belga 12, Chan 9, Arana 8, Almazan 8, Tiu 8, Norwood 8, Rodriguez 4, Uyloan 2, Teng 2, Cruz 0, Tang 0, Tang 0.
Quarterscores: 27-26, 56-51, 88-82, 112-107