Two Game Ones down, two comebacks at hand.
Trailing by as much as 24 in the game, the second-seeded San Miguel Beermen rallied in a superb second half show as they take Game 1 of their semifinals series against Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 101-95 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A good stretch of exchange that ended in a four-point play by Marcio Lassiter, gave RoS a slim 9-8 lead in the opening minutes of Game 1. Fortunately for the Painters, they fired a 13-6 run to pull away in the first period as a Paul Lee trey gave them the first double-digit lead at 25-14.
Wendell McKines also executed a fine start both from the offensive and defensive end as he scored 14 first quarter points while also defending well on SMB’s bigs. Just before the first quarter buzzer ended, Lee nailed another three to give them a 15-point advantage, while leaving their opponents stunned with the way they poorly shot the ball.
Playing without their respective imports to start the second quarter, Rain or Shine extended its lead to the 20-point mark at 39-19 within seconds as Paul Lee and Raymond Almazan scored five fast points. On the other hand, San Miguel’s locals went gunshy with their shots as they missed four outside attempts that halted their scoreboard to move. SMB’s first field goal of the second extinguished the 9-0 burst by Rain or Shine but the Painters evidently held to full momentum in the first half.
Fortunately for the Beermen, June Mar Fajardo went feasting underneath and anchored a quick 8-0 counter by San Miguel; while Rain or Shine’s were able to get offensive boards but missed to convert on second chances. AZ Reid also started to get some points going but the reinsertion of McKines restored Rain or Shine’s big lead as the Painters’ reinforcement continued to dominate against the Beermen’s defense. A mini 9-2 close by the Beermen, however, cut the Elasto Painters gap down to 14 at the break.
Carrying the momentum got from the tail-end of the second quarter, AZ Reid started to heat up and an elbow jumper sliced the lead down to single digits after trailing by as much as 24 in the first half. As Arwind Santos made an impeccable breakaway jam, Rain or Shine answered with five points off two SMB turnovers to restore a dozen-point lead.
Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos scored the fourth quarter’s first two baskets to extend the Beermen’s lead. On the defensive end, they played a 2-3 zone that paid dividends with the Painters missing three-balls. SMB led by a minimal advantage but free throws by ROS tied the game at 88 with seven minutes to go. Afterwards, four lead changes made the game played in a back-and-forth frantic pace down the stretch. Back-to-back shots by Lassiter and Reid made it a 99-95 game while Arwind Santos thwarted a three-pointer by Jeff Chan.
Wendell McKines missed two free throws that potentially could cut the lead to single possession. On the next play, Fajardo snatched a huge offensive rebound to give SMB a second possession that led to a Reid field goal on the dying seconds and extend the lead to six. With 14 ticks left, Reid missed a hoisted attempt but Fajardo blocked Lee’s triple in the last seconds.
The Beermen had more assists, 23-17 and ended the game shooting better with their 43.9% compared to Rain or Shine’s 37.4% clip. All five starters of SMB tallied double digits in scoring led by Lassiter and Reid’s 22. McKines scored 31 for Rain or Shine together with his 16 boards.
Game 2 of this series will be held on Saturday 7pm, still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel (106) – Reid 22, Lassiter 22, Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 15, Santos 13, Tubid 5, Lutz 2, Espinas 2, Ross 0
Rain or Shine (95) – McKines 33, Lee 19, Belga 12, Almazan 10, Chan 7, Ibañes 7, Uyloan 5, Tiu 2, Norwood 0, Cruz 0, Araña 0, Quiñahan 0
Quarterscores: 19-34, 46-60, 80-79, 101-95