PBA Finals: SMB overtakes TNT 3-2, now just a win away from another title

MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen (SMB) shows the true heart of a champion by overcoming a 16-point TNT lead to win Game 5, 99-94 in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday, August 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

SMB overtakes TNT 3-2, now just a win away from another title
Another monster numbers for Chris McCullough with 35 points, 22 rebounds and above all game 5 win and a chance to close the series on Friday | Photo Credit: pba.ph

So far, the SMB-TNT finals series has been a massive hit to PBA aficionados. It’s very rare nowadays for PBA to sold out tickets and packed the arena with paying patrons. But with this kind of finals, the league is slowly reviving its old glory days.

The team who wins tonight will virtually have the twice-to-beat advantage if ever the series goes down to the wire. So, expect the players to be more aggressive in both ends just to give their teams a crucial win.

June Mar Fajardo dominated game 4. But tonight, Coach Bong Ravena tweaked his lineup a little bit as he put the seldom-used David Semerad on Fajardo. Ravena’s gamble paid off as “The Kraken” got 2 quick and early fouls and was forced to be subbed out immediately.

Terrence Jones, the Best Import of the conference made a living from the outside and earned 15 points as he closed the 1st quarter, 28-22.

Scoring had slowed down for both squads in the first half of the 2nd period. But come midway, TNT all-of-a-sudden went hot from the long distance to escalate the lead.

With the prompt offensive burst, TNT Katropa had an instant double-digit lead and terrific defensive stops on the Beermen to thwart a potential comeback.

TNT made an outstanding stoppage on SMB’s scorers like McCullough, Fajardo and Ross. But Katropa underestimated Terrence Romeo as the former scoring champion single-handedly cut the lead to 49-45 at the end of the 1st half.

June Mar Fajardo finally broke out from the sticky defense of David Semerad in the 3rd quarter and started to drop points. Despite Fajardo’s efforts, TNT stayed on top and in control.

Once again, TNT’s margin climbed up to double figures. Blame it on the waxing hot hands TNT trio Terrence Jones, Troy Rosario and Jayson Castro.

Before the 3rd quarter ended, Rosario added another deuce to their 81-69 lead.

TNT looked even more unstoppable at the start of the final quarter as they escalated their lead to 16. But few minutes after that, behold Terrence Romeo caught fire anew and trim the number down to 7.

Down to the last 2 minutes of the ballgame, San Miguel reduced TNT’s lead to just 3 courtesy of Chris McCullough who had another 20-20 performance.

The last minute of the game was too intense. Players scrambled for every loose ball and fought every way they can just to gain possession. Katropa was protecting a half-shot advantage as the clock melted.

McCullough drove to the basket and finally stole the rare lead from TNT and leaving Katropa with 26.5 ticks.

Terrence Jones and Troy Rosario tried to even but missed both their attempts that signaled San Miguel to take game 5, 99-94.

SMB can finish off TNT on Friday, August 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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