MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel seized its playoff berth in thrilling fashion after surviving Rain or Shine, 89-87, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, July 13.
Import Chris McCullough and June Mar Fajardo took over in the endgame before the Beermen fended off a scary comeback stand from the Elasto Painters to tally their third straight win and improve to 5-5.
McCullough, who had team-highs of 24 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 rebounds, made back-to-back spectacular plays by draining a triple before assisting Fajardo for a two-handed jam that gave San Miguel an 89-82 lead.
But Rain or Shine did not waver and managed to shave their deficit to 2 points off a Javee Mocon three-pointer and a pair of Carl Montgomery free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
The Elasto Painters then forced a McCullough miss on the other end to regain ball possession, but Beau Belga missed what could have been the game-wining trey at the buzzer.
Fajardo backstopped McCullough with 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Terrence Romeo chipped in 13 points off the bench for the Beermen, who is now tied at 5th place with Magnolia.
Mocon finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Montgomery chimed in 18 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals, but their work together was not enough as Rain or Shine ended the elimination round with a 5-6 record.
Cagayan de Oro City native Rey Nambatac chalked up 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the loss.
San Miguel 89 - McCullough 24, Fajardo 23, Romeo 13, Ross 7, Santos 7, Cabagnot 6, Pessumal 3, Lassiter 3, Nabong 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Rain or Shine 87 - Mocon 20, Montgomery 18, Nambatac 11, Borboran 9, Daquioag 7, Ponferada 5, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Onwubere 3, Torres 3, Rosales 2.
Quarters: 14-18, 47-44, 63-67, 89-87.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.