by Jonas Terrado
Game Tuesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. — TNT KaTropa vs Ginebra
(TNT leads series 2-0)
Game Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. — San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
San Miguel Beer overhauled a 29-point deficit behind the hot shooting of Chris Ross to pummel Rain or Shine, 117-105, and move one win from making a finals return with a 2-0 lead in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ross hit 10 threes to join an exclusive company to finish with a career-high 34 points as the Beermen came back from being down 47-18, about 9:28 remaining in the second quarter, to complete a victory that left coach Leo Austria in disbelief.
“Yung spirit ni Marcio Lassiter napunta kay Chris Ross (“The spirit of Marcio Lassiter went to Chris Ross),” said Austria.
SMB will go for the sweep on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 10-year guard joined Allan Caidic, Kenneth Duremdes, Lassiter and Roger Pogoy as the only locals to hit 10 threes in a game, an achievement that seemed far-fetched after ROS built the aforementioned lead.
Ross hit three of the five triples San Miguel hit during a 31-5 windup in the second canto, cutting Rain or Shine’s lead to 52-49 at the half.
He continued the onslaught in the second half as San Miguel took command and never looked back, going ahead by a high of 23 points, 98-75, on Ross’ three with 10:33 to go in the payoff period.
“This game is unbelievable,” Austria said. “I’m really surprised with the way it happened. We were down by 29 points, but all of a sudden we catch up and we take the lead.”
Import Chris McCullough produced 22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals, Alex Cabagnot put up 17 points, four rebounds and seven assists and Christian Standhardinger scored 15 points before being ejected for second motion during a skirmish with Jewel Ponferada.
Carl Montgomery’s 24 points, 15 rebounds and six assists went for naught as the Elasto Painters need to shake off the ill-effects of the big meltdown.
Rain or Shine erupted for seven threes in the first quarter while San Miguel had none to lead 34-13, before Ross turned the complexion of the contest.
SAN MIGUEL 117 — Ross 34, McCullough 22, Cabagnot 17, Standhardinger 15, Fajardo 14, Romeo 12, Pessumal 3, Rosser 0, Mamaril 0, Santos 0, Tubid 0, Nabong 0, Zamar 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 105 — Montgomery 24, Nambatac 15, Daquioag 13, Yap 12, Ponferada 8, Belga 8, Norwood 6, Torres 5, Mocon 5, Borboran 4, Alejandro 3, Onwubere 2, Rosales 0.
Quarters: 13-34; 49-52; 89-73; 117-105.