Arwind Santos returned to the dugout disgusted with what he felt was a disappointing defensive stance from San Miguel in the first half.
That’s why on the other side of the halftime break, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
The 2013 PBA Most Valuable Player ignited the Beermen’s huge second half charge as they pulled off a huge 111-102 Game 5 victory over TNT to move a win away from the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals title Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Santos spurred San Miguel in the game-changing 20-4 run to open the third period as they battled back from a 15-point halftime hole, 61-46, and grab the 66-65 lead at the 5:46 mark of the frame to set up the tightly contested battle.
Alex Cabagnot joined the party in the fourth period, scoring 10 in the quarter, before passing the ball to Santos with 34.6 seconds left for the dagger layup.
Game 6 is on Sunday, still at the Big Dome, with San Miguel having a golden chance to close the series out and claim the title.
Santos finished the game with 27 points, eight rebounds, five blocks, and two assists, while Cabagnot added 26 markers, eight boards, and five assists.
Charles Rhodes registered a double-double of 20 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, while Marcio Lassiter chipped in 17 markers, seven boards, four assists, and three steals in the win.
“I thought in the first half, we already lost. Many says that defense wins championships and that’s what we showed. We got back because of our defense, they refused to lose and we showed our the character,” said coach Leo Austria.
Defense really did it for the Beermen, and that showed in the steals (12-6) and blocks (9-2).
San Miguel held Ranidel de Ocampo scoreless in the second half after going for 19 points in the first two periods.
Kris Rosales got 16 markers in the loss, while Joshua Smith contributed 15 points and seven boards.
Jayson Castro tried to orchestrate a late KaTropa fightback in the last 3:00, cutting a 12-point deficit, 107-95, to as low as five, 107-102, with 1:18 remaining, but he missed a crucial three in the final minute.
SAN MIGUEL 111 – Cabagnot 28, Santos 27, Rhodes 20, Lassiter 17, Ross 10, Fajardo 9, Heruela 0, Espinas 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, De Ocampo 0.
TNT 102 – De Ocampo 19, Rosales 16, Smith 15, Rosario 12, Semerad 12, Castro 12, Reyes 6, Garcia 3, Tautuaa 3, Pogoy 2, Williams 2, Nuyles 0.
Quarters: 29-26, 46-61, 82-79, 111-102.
POST GAME INTERVIEWS:
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