MANILA – San Miguel Beermen overhauled a 16-point deficit to score a 99-94 victory over TNT KaTropa in the pivotal Game 5 of the 2019 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Trailing 69-85 at one point in the fourth period, the Beermen made consecutive baskets from Chris McCullough and June Mar Fajardo as they trimmed the deficit down to 78-85 with over seven minutes left.
The KaTropa managed to increase the lead back to 90-80 after a triple by Roger Pogoy but the Beermen got seven straight points from McCullough to come to within 87-90.
A triple by Jayson Castro extended TNT’s edge to 93-87. That, however, proved to be KaTropa’s last stand. McCullough came up with an 8-1 blast to take a 95-94 lead with 26 seconds left.
After misses from KaTropa, the Beermen iced the win on free throws by McCullough and Chris Ross.
McCullough finished the match with 35 points, 22 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Terrence Romeo and Fajardo contributed 22 and 16 markers, respectively.
By taking a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven championship series, the Beermen can clinch its second consecutive championship this season with a win in Game 6 on Friday.
The KaTropa has been dominant in the early goings of the match with its efficient outside shooting but the Beermen did not allow its opponent to pull away until the TNT was able to find its mark late in the third canto for its biggest lead of 16 points.
Terrence Jones finished with 35 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists but choked late in the match. He missed and turned over the basket several times against the defense of Beermen’s Christian Standhardinger.
Castro added 18 markers while Jeth Troy Rosario and Pogoy contributed 16 and 12 markers, respectively, for the KaTropa, which hopes to stretch the series to a do-or-die Game 7 on Sunday./PN