San Miguel shakes off rust, spurs second half rampage to outlast Globalport

Arwind Santos went supernova from distance as he brought SMB back and won it in the end.
By Patrick Sutare

QUEZON CITY -- San Miguel brushed off an apparent rust to storm back from trailing double digits and frustrate Globalport, 115-112, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to march right back at the winning track of the PBA Governors' Cup.

Coming off a 21-day layoff, the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel struggled to catch a break early, playing the catch up game the entire first half where they found themselves down by 12 going to the dugout, 45-57.

But the Beermen stayed the course, instigating a crippling run late in the third quarter to outscore the Batang Pier in the said period, 39-24, to take a three point edge going to the final frame, 84-81.

Globalport looked rejuvenated right at the onset of the tiff, pouncing on the early miscues of a seemingly lost SMB squad before stumbling in the late parts of the game and taking the ruthless blow that was the championship-built composure of the Beermen.

The Batang Pier actually put up a gallant uprising that put SMB's seven-point edge with less than two minutes to go under siege.

A quick four unanswered points inched Globalport to within a possession, 114-111, with less than a minute left.

Arwind Santos had the chance to ice the game with 14.2 seconds to go, but he missed his charities.

Stanley Pringle was fouled on the ensuing play and awarded a pair which he split, 114-112, with 9.6 to go.

Santos was fouled again and had his own split, but he immediately redeemed himself as he averted the potential game-tying basket from Murphey Halloway at the buzzer.

Save for the huge missed freebies, Santos was on fire from deep all night, sinking seven triples that lit the lethal bomb that brought SMB back into the game.

The veteran forward finished with 30 points on top of eight rebounds and five shot blocks. Alex Cabagnot had his fair share of the load, hoisting up 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 45 minutes.

"Arwind was really practicing well the last four days kasi alam niya hindi makakalaro nang matagal si Junemar," bared SMB coach Leo Austria of Santos' stellar game.

Wendell McKines led all scorers with 35, 23 in the second half, along with 14 boards, seven dimes and four blocks.

As mentioned by Austria, the game saw the return of Junemar Fajardo- albeit for a short time- who missed the team's last outing due to injury and has just come back from a stint in the national team. He contributed four points in seven minutes, all in the first half as SMB improves to three wins against just a single loss.

Returning Globalport ace Terrence Romeo connived with Halloway and Pringle in shouldering the Batang Pier's offensive assault, but their combined 75-point effort all went down in flames as their team failed to capitalize on its early upperhand and fell to a 2-3 slate.

Halloway had a mountrous performance, notching a 20-20 with 25 points and 23 rebounds. Romeo led the team's scoring with 26, grabbed six boards and dished out four assists. Pringle had 24.

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