San Miguel dispatches Rain or Shine, sets up monumental Finals clash with TNT

San Miguel leaned on the heroics of import Chris McCullough to finally dispose of a stubborn Rain or Shine side, 98-95 in Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinal series in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen, thus, advanced to the championship round via 3-1 series romp over the Elasto Painters and will face top-seeded TNT in a best-of-seven affair starting Sunday, August 4.

Down by 3, 91-94, with 3:42 left on the game clock, McCullough drained a jumper and then a three-pointer to put the Beermen on top, 96-94, going into the last 2 minutes. Terrence Romeo converted a long two to give the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup champs more breathing space, 98-94, which proved to be enough as the Elasto Painters sealed their own fate as Rey Nambatac missed 2 three-point attempts while Gabe Norwood and James Yap committed costly turnovers in the closing moments of the match.

“It’s nice to be back here but I’m sure, in the finals, we are facing a tough team. We are facing the team that is playing the highest level of basketball of their careers,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

“We know from the start that it won’t be easy. We won two in a row in the first two games but they came back in Game Three, and this game was a 50-50 ball game. ROS has nothing to be shamed of. They put up a good fight,” he added.

McCullough paced the Beermen, who will march on to the Commissioner’s Cup Finals for the 3rd straight season, with 35 points to go along with 18 boards, 3 assists and 5 blocks.

Alex Cabagnot and June Mar Fajardo provided ample support for the former NBA player with 21 and 19 points, respectively while Christian Standhardinger added 11.

Carl Montgomery led the Elasto Painters with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists while Rey Nambatac and Ed Daquioag contributed 15 markers apiece.

The scores:

San Miguel 98 – McCullough 35, Cabagnot 21, Fajardo 19, Standhardinger 11, Santos 5, Pessumal 3, Rosser 2, Romeo 2, Ross 0.

Rain or Shine 95 – Montgomery 18, Daquioag 15, Nambatac 15, Yap 10, Mocon 9, Belga 9, Torres 9, Norwood 5, Ponferada 5, Rosales 0, Borboran 0.

Quarterscores: 32-26, 41-44, 72-75, 98-95.

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