By Patrick Sutare
PASAY—Series not yet over.
San Miguel lives to fight another day after a huge second half surge trounced TNT in Game 6, 104-88, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, good to force a rubber-match in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.
Playing with their backs against the wall, the defending champs unfurled the beast in them when counted the most, still finishing the crucial match in lopsided fashion despite trailing in some parts of the game.
The Beermen erased a 12-point deficit early in the third quarter, 47-59, and turned it into a five-point advantage after a 19-4 assault led by RR Garcia propelled them back into the driver's seat, 68-63, approaching the final three minutes of the period.
Though Jayson Castro piloted the opposition's charge of a 6-0 run to get the lead back, Arwind Santos drew a foul and made his freebies to give SMB a one-point lead going to the fourth, 70-69.
Following a rather shaky start, the topseed SMB team appeared to have preserved its aces come the payoff period as they unleashed a rampaging spurt in that frame to frustrate the Ka-Tropa, outscoring them by 15, 34-19.
Alex Cabagnot steered the Beermen's late charge as he scored 10 of his 19-point total in the pivotal canto. He also finished with seven assists and four caroms.
Junemar Fajardo managed to topscore his team with 23 despite having to bleed for his points due to the tight defense employed to him by the Ka-Tropa. He dominated the boards as well with 21.
Arwind Santos had a solid outing as well, posting 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
Missing the services of starting forward Troy Rosario who was attending his wedding, TNT was visibly caught helpless inside the paint when SMB inflicted its offensive flurry in the fourth.
Another notable factor was Mo Tautuaa's early foul trouble, leaving the load to Kelly Williams and Ranidel de Ocampo, who despite successfully limiting the Kraken's exploits in the first half, lost stream later on.
Castro paced TNT with 19 points and five assists.
Game 7 is set on Monday still at the MOA Arena.
SMB- Fajardo 23, Santos 21, Cabagnot 19, Ross 14, Garcia 9, Lassiter 7, Espinas 5, de Ocampo 2, McCarthy 2, Agovida 1, Tubid 1, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Van Opstal 0.
TNT- Castro 19, Fonacier 12, Pogoy 12, Reyes 9, Williams 8, Rosales 7, Tautuaa 6, de Ocampo 5, Carey 3, Tamsi 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Seigle 2, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0.
Quarterscores: 26-27, 45-53, 70-69, 104-88
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