MANILA, Philippines – Bay Area overhauled a 16-point deficit and stunned San Miguel to hack out a 103-102 squeaker in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, December 14.
Andrew Nicholson posted a monster double-double, while Hayden Blankley and Kobey Lam delivered a pair of clutch buckets late as the Dragons stretched their winning streak and drew first blood in the best-of-five affair.
The Beermen grabbed a 102-99 lead off a June Mar Fajardo putback with under a minute left before Bay Area stormed back after San Miguel surprisingly benched the six-time MVP in the crucial stretch.
Without Fajardo on the court, Blankley scored on a short stab to pull the Dragons within a whisker and Lam attacked the rim for the go-ahead basket that proved enough for the foreign squad to hold off the defending champions.
The Beermen missed their last two field goals, with import Devon Scott muffing the potential game-winning jumper with time running out.
Nicholson finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Blankley put up 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Lam tossed in 12 points, 5 coming in their fourth-quarter comeback that saw them outscore San Miguel, 25-13.
Powered by a sizzling first-half performance from Terrence Romeo, the Beermen enjoyed a lead as big as 16 points, 83-67, in the third quarter and entered the final salvo up by 11 points, 89-78.
But Bay Area overhauled that deficit off an 18-4 start in the fourth quarter anchored by Nicholson and Zhu Songwei to grab a 96-93 advantage.
Zhu backstopped Nicholson in scoring with 19 points along with 7 assists as the Dragons notched their sixth straight win.
CJ Perez topscored for San Miguel with 24 points on top of 7 rebounds, while Romeo netted 21 points, with 19 coming in the first two quarters.
Fajardo chimed in 11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block in the loss.
Bay Area 103 – Nicholson 30, Zhu 19, Blankley 15,Ju 13, Lam 12, Yang 9, Liu 5, Song 0, Reid 0.
San Miguel 102 – Perez 24, Romeo 21, Lassiter 16, Cruz 11, Fajardo 11, Scott 9, Enciso 8, Ross 2, Brondial 0.
Quarters: 23-31, 51-59, 78-89, 103-102.