MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel bucked off a lethargic first-half showing and turned back Rain or Shine, 111-105, to take Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, July 27.
Import Chris McCullough and Christian Standhardinger showed the way in the final quarter as the Beermen dug themselves out of a 13-point hole and finished strong to gain an early advantage in the best-of-five series.
McCullough delivered 32 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, while Standhardinger had 20 points and 8 rebounds as they chalked up 9 points apiece in the payoff period to complete the comeback.
The Elasto Painters looked set to defy expectations after leading 20-7 midway through the maiden period and 52-46 at halftime, but they were not able to protect their lead as soon as the second half started.
Chris Ross erupted for 10 of his 19 points in the 3rd quarter and San Miguel outscored Rain or Shine, 39-31, to turn the tides and head into the last frame up 85-83.
Rain or Shine remained within striking distance and trailed by just a whisker off a Kris Rosales bucket with 2:30 minutes left, 105-106, but was left scoreless since as McCullough scored 5 points to secure the victory for his side.
Alex Cabagnot had 12 points and 7 assists, Terrence Romeo added 10 points, while June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos chipped in 9 points each in the win.
Import Carl Montgomery churned out 20 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 steals, while Gabe Norwood fired 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists for the Elasto Painters.
Norbert Torres had 13 points, Javee Mocon added 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, and Nambatac pumped in 12 points and 5 assists in the loss.
Game 2 is on Monday, July 29, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
San Miguel 111 - McCullough 32, Standhardinger 20, Ross 19, Cabagnot 12, Romeo 10, Fajardo 9, Santos 9, Tubid 0, Pessumal 0, Rosser 0.
Rain or Shine 105 - Montgomery 20, Norwood 16, Torres 13, Mocon 12, Nambatac 12, Belga 7, Ponferada 6, Rosales 5, Yap 5, Daquioag 5, Borboran 4, Alejandro 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 46-52, 85-83, 111-105.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.