San Miguel survives furious NorthPort rally, advances to semifinals

San Miguel overcame a furious NorthPort fightback in the payoff period and pulled off a hard-earned 90-88 win in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen, thus, advanced to the semifinal round and will await the winner of the Blackwater vs Rain or Shine game which is set on Friday, July 25 also at the Big Dome.

Down by 16, 63-79, in the 8-minute mark of the final frame after Chris McCullough drained a triple, the Batang Pier rattled off a 15-0 blast capped by back-to-back treys by Garvo Lanete to cut the deficit to a solitary point, 78-79.

Two freebies by rookie Robert Bolick gave NorthPort the upperhand which then increased to 4, 86-82, after a clutch three by Sean Anthony.

SMB team captain Arwind Santos took matters into his own hands and scored 5 straight points to give his team the lead once more, 87-86, time down to 1:25.

Bolick and McCullough traded baskets before Moala Tautuaa sealed the Batang Pier’s fate with a muffed triple.

“After the first game, we thought that it’s too easy to beat them but I have to give credit to the coaching staff of NorthPort because they prepared really hard. They have a good plan for this game,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.

“We are lucky we got all the breaks especially in the last three possessions,” added the 7-time PBA champion mentor.

The Beermen were led by McCullough who finished with 31 points and 11 boards. Marcio Lassiter, who didn’t play in the 2nd half after suffering a knee injury, added 11 points while Santos and Alex Cabagnot contributed 10 markers apiece.

Lanete paced NorthPort with 22 points built on 5 of 9 shooting from 3-point country. Tautuaa added 15 while Prince Ibeh chipped in 15 points and 20 boards.

The scores

San Miguel 90 – McCullough 31, Lassiter 11, Cabagnot 10, Santos 10, Fajardo 8, Standhardinger 8, Romeo 5, Pessumal 3, Ross 2, Rosser 2.

NorthPort 88 – Lanete 22, Tautuaa 20, Ibeh 15, Bolick 13, Anthony 10, Taha 4, Elorde 2, Ferrer 2, Mercado 0, Cruz 0.

Quarterscores: 21-27, 43-39, 72-62, 90-88.

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