Getting into deep waters, June Mar Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen dug deep, outlasting the TNT Katropa in double overtime, 126-122, to tie the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals series, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Wow, it’s a fantastic game indeed. But I think we’re so lucky,” said a relieved San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
Tied at 122-all with 32.1 seconds left, June Mar Fajardo took advantage of TNT’s depleted frontline. He picked up a foul on Yousef Taha and knocking down both free throws to break the deadlock.
Off a timeout, Jayson Castro slipped, leading to a breakaway layup for Chris Ross. Castro was able to atone for his slip, sinking a big-time triple with 11.7 ticks remaining to give life to the Katropa.
Chris McCollough then split his charities, giving TNT a chance to either knockout the game or send it into another extra five minutes. Unfortunately, though, Castro missed both his triple attempts to end the epic affair.
Fajardo scored four of his 12 points in the last five minutes of the game. The five-time MVP also grabbed 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Ross tallied 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting from deep to go along with six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
When the game ran into extra time, though, TNT were battered by fouls.
With TNT leading by three, 114-111, with less than 20 seconds left, San Miguel chased Terrence Jones to try to get a foul and stop the clock. The former NBA pro was then caught swinging his forearm, decking Ross in the face after receiving a foul. It resulted in Jones’ second technical foul.
Jones’s first technical foul came at the 3:11 mark of the third canto, after a spat with Christian Standhardinger,. He left with 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and three blocks in the contest.
“We never gave up and we’re able to tie the game twice, and we’re able to let their import get out of the game, and that’s it,” Austria shared.
“It’s a very interesting game. No comment on that,” TNT head coach Bong Ravena opined about the crucial technical foul.
Brian Heruela missed both of his free throws. Chris McCollough then split his charities, bringing the lead to two.
Troy Rosario, however, missed his freebies afterward, leading to a touchdown pass from Ross to Cabagnot with 0.6 ticks to spare to force a second overtime.
“If we only made our free throws. Pero ganun talaga. Sayang,” lamented Ravena.
“I have to commend the players – they never gave up. I think the experience in the championship, yun ang makapagsabi: ang experience nila,” shared Austria.
Rosario had a career-high 34 points built on eight triples, but fouled out with 1:15 left in the game.
“What can we do? We can’t do anything about this loss. We can only prepare for the next game,” expressed Ravena.
Terrence Romeo, who forced overtime with a clutch triple with 18.7 left in regulation, had 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, McCollough led San Miguel in scoring with 32 markers.
Castro had 27 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds for TNT, while Roger Pogoy added 17 markers.
Game Three of the best-of-seven series takes place on Friday, August 9 at the same venue.
San Miguel 127 – McCullough 32, Romeo 29, Ross 25, Cabagnot 19, Fajardo 12, Standhardinger 7, Pessumal 2, Santos 1, Rosser 0.
TNT 125 – Rosario 34, Jones 28, Castro 27, Pogoy 17, Trollano 14, Heruela 5, Washington 0, Taha 0.
Quarterscores: 32-25, 59-45, 84-77, 106-106, 114-114, 127-125.