by JONAS TERRADO
Game Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:15 p.m. — Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa
(TNT leads series 1-0)
Game Monday (Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs San Miguel
(San Miguel leads series 1-0)
San Miguel Beer overcame a lackluster first half and a bit of turmoil in the third quarter to beat Rain or Shine, 111-105, and gain the upperhand in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Chris McCullough, who voiced his displeasure during a timeout, scored the Beermen’s final five points to overcome the spirited challenge of the Elasto Painters and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five affair.
Christian Standhardinger brought his A-game back after spending most of the conference with inconsistent playing time and posted 20 points and eight rebounds even as Chris Ross hit five triples to finish with 19 points to help SMB’s cause.
Coach Leo Austria and the Beermen attempt to make it two in a row over the Elasto Painters on Monday when the series shifts to the Mall of Asia Arena for Game 2.
SMB came out victorious despite trailing 20-7 in the first quarter and 66-59 on an open dunk by ROS import Carl Montgomery with 7:29 remaining in the third, prompting coach Leo Austria to call a timeout.
A disappointed McCullough at one point left the huddle despite efforts by Austria and Alex Cabagnot to cool him down.
Harmony eventually was restored as the McCullough and the rest of the Beermen took control in the fourth before seeing off Rain or Shine’s comeback hopes.
Kris Rosales’ jumper put Rain or Shine behind 106-105, and had a chance to take the lead but Javee Mocon missed an elbow three.
McCullough raced all the way to score a three-point play off Gabe Norwood’s foul with 1:58 to go for 109-105.
Jewel Ponferada and Rey Nambatac missed a pair of threes and Montgomery couldn’t convert inside, setting up McCullough’s basket entering the final minute.
Montgomery finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three steals while Norwood added 16 points on four threes with six rebounds and four assists for the Elasto Painters.
SAN MIGUEL 111 — McCullough 32, Standhardinger 20, Ross 19, Cabagnot 12, Romeo 10, Fajardo 9, Santos 9, Tubid 0, Pessumal 0, Rosser 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 105 — Montgomery 20, Norwood 16, Torres 13, Mocon 12, Nambatac 12, Belga 7, Ponferada 6, Rosales 5, Yap 5, Daquioag 5, Borboran 4, Alejandro 0.
Quarters: 19-27; 46-52; 85-83; 111-105.