by Jonas Terrado
Games Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. — Alaska vs Blackwater
6:45 p.m. — Ginebra vs Columbian
San Miguel Beer nearly squandered a seven-point lead in the final minute to slip past Rain or Shine, 89-87, and clinch a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
The Beermen appeared to have the Petron Saturday Special game in the bag when June Mar Fajardo scored a dunk off import Chris McCullough’s pass to make it 89-82 with 1:08 remaining in the fourth.
But the Elasto Painters refused to give up as rookie Javee Mocon hit a three and import Carl Montgomery made two free throws to narrow the gap to two with 10.8 seconds left.
McCullough gave Rain or Shine another chance when he missed a layup try instead of milking the clock, allowing Beau Belga to call a timeout near midcourt with 0.5 seconds left.
Belga, however, couldn’t convert a three-pointer at the buzzer, handing SMB its third straight win at 5-5 for a share of fifth place with Magnolia.
McCullough was held to 24 points on an 8-of-24 shooting after averaging 42.0 points in his first two games since replacing former Best Import Charles Rhodes.
But the former NBA player had 17 rebounds and five blocks, including one that prevented Montgomery from completing a one-handed dunk in the second half.
Fajardo posted 23 points and 15 rebounds and Terrence Romeo played despite hurting his left pinkie last Wednesday against Phoenix Pulse and scored 13 points.
Mocon tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Montgomery produced 18 points and 13 rebounds but Rain or Shine’s two-game winning run was snapped, ending its elims campaign at 5-6.
Rain or Shine, however, is already assured of a quarters berth.
SAN MIGUEL 89 — McCullough 24, Fajardo 23, Romeo 13, Ross 7, Santos 7, Cabagnot 6, Pessumal 3, Lassiter 3, Nabong 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 87 — Mocon 20, Montgomery 18, Nambatac 11, Borboran 9, Daquioag 7, Ponferada 5, Belga 5, Norwood 4, Onwubere 3, Torres 3, Rosales 2.
Quarters: 14-18; 47-44; 63-67; 89-87.