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SMB storms back in fourth to stun ROS in semis opener

Chris Ross helped San Miguel say "hi" to a semis Game 1 win with the game-winning triple. PBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--In a game highlighted by some "pabebe waves", it was San Miguel who waved "hello" to a 1-0 lead in its best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against Rain Or Shine.

The Beermen walked out of the Mall of Asia Arena 109-105 victors over the Elasto Painters on Tuesday night in an emotional match that saw Coach Yeng Guiao saying hello to Chris Ross in a funny way after an altercation.

Things got heated up in the third quarter when Guiao, Ross, and Beau Belga tangled up in one play with ROS up, 72-54.

While waiting for the official decision, Guiao gave Ross some funny taunts by doing the "pabebe wave" made popular by the GMA program Eat Bulaga on him. The feisty coach, although not obliged, even repeated the gesture when the TV5 camera flashed back on him.

The Elasto Painters, who led by as much as 22 points, would lead by 20, 91-71, at the end of the third period.

However, after an exchange of baskets to start the fourth period, the Beermen began their final charge, going on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just 12, 93-81.

ROS tried to restore order by having a 5-2 mini-run to push the gap back to 15, 98-83, but SMB went on a crucial 22-5 run to take the lead, 105-103.

The returning Paul Lee would tie the game with a basket at the other end, but Ross had the last laugh with the go-ahead triple with 45.6 seconds left for a 108-105 advantage.

Lee made huge blunders in the dying moments, but the E-Painters stayed in contention as the Beermen failed to capitalize on them.

However, Jeff Chan misfired a potential tying triple, and Arwind Santos sealed the win with a split from the line to complete a 38-point fourth quarter outburst.

Capping the comeback win, former Elasto Painter Ryan Araña, Gabby Espinas, and Alex Cabagnot did the "pabebe wave" too on cam.

Junemar Fajardo, who entered the semifinals still on top of the Best Player of the Conference race statistical points-wise, carried the fight for San Miguel with 36 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, five blocks, and one steal.

Belga and J.R. Quiñahan, on the other hand, led Rain Or Shine with 19 points each. Lee tallied eight markers in his return from a knee injury.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 109-Fajardo 36, Santos 19, Tubid 15, Cabagnot 9, Lutz 9, Espinas 7, Ross 7, Lassiter 5, Araña 2, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0

Rain Or Shine 105-Belga 19, Quinahan 19, Cruz 16, Tiu 12, Almazan 8, Lee 8, Ponferada 8, Norwood 7, Ahanmisi 4, Teng 4, Chan 0, Ibanes 0

Quarterscores: 21-31, 50-68, 71-91, 109-105

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno