San Miguel survives TNT in Game 5 of Commissioner's Cup Finals

Chris McCullough scores the winning basket for the San Miguel Beermen, upsetting the TnT KaTropa on Game 5 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals. Dennis Jerome Acosta
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

QUEZON CITY - The San Miguel Beermen needed a fourth quarter rally to walk away with the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals Game 5 win against the TnT KaTropa, 99-94, Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Chris McCullough scored 19 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including the basket that handed the Beermen the lead, 95-94 with 26.4 seconds remaining in the ballgame.

From then on, TnT was unable to score a basket, despite the efforts of Terrence Jones to knock one in for the KaTropa.

Jones committed a turnover, sending the possession to the San Miguel side of the court as Christian Standhardinger puts up an excellent defensive stop to the TnT import.

"Nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoong Diyos dahil biniyayaan ako ng isang panalo ngayong gabi na napaka hirap gawin, especially when we're down by 16 or 17 points. But I am very happy for the players because they accepted their roles tonight, especially Christian Standhardinger. He is my hero tonight," said San Miguel Beermen Coach Leo Austria.

Austria lauded the performance of Standhardinger in containing Jones in the ballgame, especially in the fourth period.

The San Miguel head coach did not need to bring June Mar Fajardo back in the game at crunch time as Standhardinger worked extra in guarding the mighty KaTropa import.

Jones, however, had an impressive first half, exploding 15 points in the first quarter alone.

TnT in fact, started strong and was dominating the entire ball game until the Beermen woke up just in the nick of time to snatch the lead away from the KaTropa and eventually lead their finals series; 3-2.

"I just tried to give my best to help this team to win. I'm happy that we were successful today, it was a tough, tough game. We were right on the line of losing it but we kept fighting - that's what we stand for here, we keep fighting," said Standhardinger.

With the momentum up on their side, coming into Game 6, the Beermen will prepare hard and try to close the series on Friday night to prevent a possibility of playing Game 7.

But the KaTropa, through Jones says that the series is not over until it is over.

"It's either we win or be done. I'm not ready to be done, I hope my teammates are [likewise] not ready to be done, and we come in [on Friday] and play with that [winning] attitude," said Jones, who finished the game with 35 points and 17 rebounds for the KaTropa.

Chris McCullough earned the best player citation, closing the night with 35 points, 22 rebounds and 4 assists.

The scores:

San Miguel 99 - McCullough 35, Romeo 22, Fajardo 16, Pessumal 9, Ross 7, Cabagnot 4, Standhardinger 4, Santos 2.

TNT 94 - Jones 35, Castro 18, Rosario 16, Pogoy 12, Trollano 7, D. Semerad 6, Taha 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, Magat 0.

Quarterscores: 22-28, 45-49, 69-80, 99-94.

Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha