|Chris McCullough pumped up his teammates while delivering in the clutch for the Beermen. PBA Images|
By Ivan Saldajeno
QUEZON CITY--Carl Montgomery had a free runway for him to take flight for the slam dunk with 7:27 left in the third quarter of Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals between Rain Or Shine and San Miguel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It prompted Chris McCullough to hurl some words at his fellow Beermen, turning their timeout into an emotional one.
As it turned out, it was all SMB needed to blaze past ROS.
The Beermen came out of the said timeout on fire, and they eventually held off the Elasto Painters, 111-105, to go 1-0 up in their best-of-five series on Saturday night.
Since the emotional timeout, SMB went on a 15-5 run to take a 74-71 lead with 3:49 remaining in the third.
ROS would respond with a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead, 81-76, but SMB scored seven unanswered points to go back up, 83-81.
The Beermen would stretch their lead to as high as nine, 98-89, with 8:24 left in the fourth quarter, but the Elasto Painters stayed resilient and even cut the lead down to one, 106-105, with 2:28 to play.
McCullough then came to work, scoring the game's last five points for SMB to hold on.
McCullough finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, one block, and two steals for the Beermen.
Chris Standhardinger stepped up in a game where Junemar Fajardo was quiet, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting, eight rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
Montgomery put up 20 markers, 17 boards, five dimes, three steals, and one block for the E-Painters, who can still bounce back in Game 2 on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
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