(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. – San Miguel vs TNT KaTropa
The San Miguel Beermen have overcome many adversities during this great period of success that TNT KaTropa’s historic start felt like a minor glitch last night.
San Miguel went on a huge run after falling to a 17-0 deficit after tipoff and ripped TNT apart, 102-88, that tied at 1-1 the best-of-seven series for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Four of the Beermen’s main weapons – June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross – responded in a big way and led the Beermen’s big breakaway from the second quarter onward to squash the KaTropa’s bid for a second straight victory in the championship series.
Fajardo, the victim of a Joshua Smith game-winner in Wednesday’s series opener, dominated for 22 points and 11 rebounds while Santos sparked the Beermen’s rally from TNT’s record-setting mark for the biggest scoring run to start a PBA Finals game with 16 points.
Ross had another all-around performance with 20 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals even as Cabagnot provided 13 points and six assists as they made up for the quiet outing of import Charles Rhodes.
After going for 31 points, Rhodes posted seven points and 11 rebounds but his stats hardly mattered with the way San Miguel came back from the heartbreaking 104-102 loss in Game 1 and last night’s anemic start.
TNT felt like lions that roared out of the gate with Jayson Castro scoring 10 in the first quarter. Seven of those were produced in the aforementioned 17-0 run that ended when he found Anthony Semerad for the corner three, barely four minutes into the game.
The most frustrated was TNT’s reliable rookie Roger Pogoy.
After a terrific finals debut with 27 points, he was held scoreless in 19 minutes before his outing ended with 8:36 left in the third.
Pogoy was ejected with a Flagrant Foul 2 after an apparent low blow on a leaping Santos, causing the latter to show his disgust over the move made by his fellow Far Eastern University legend from a different generation.
At the time of the incident, the lead had ballooned to 66-48, opening the door for the Beermen to widen the gap.
Fajardo showcased his low-post moves that saw them extend the margin to 94-62, 10:23 remaining in the contest.