Arwind Santos bounced back when the San Miguel Beermen needed him with a second period outburst that helped San Miguel cruise to a 114-91 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Philippine Cup semifinals.
Santos struggled in San Miguel's 92-90 loss to Phoenix in Game 3 on Sunday, shooting 1-for-12 from the 3-point range in the Beermen's loss.
The former league MVP made sure it wouldn't happen again in Game 4.
Santos lit up from 3-point range in the second period, where he unloaded three triples, one of which gave the team a 59-47 advantage. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
His efforts proved instrumental in the Beermen's Game 4 victory at the Cuneta Astrodome. The Beermen are now one win away from the Philippine Cup finals.
If Santos' second period surge wasn't enough to put San Miguel over, Terrence Romeo followed with 17 points in the third period, including four straight 3-pointers in the final stretch of the third to put San Miguel up 89-62.
"I think that's the turning point of the game. He exploded. I've been waiting for that," San Miguel coach Leo Austria said.
Romeo's barrage couldn't have come at a better time for the sputtering Beermen offense. The series has been physical ang Game 4 was no exception.
Alex Mallari and Jaypee Mendoza were ejected and there was a separate scuffle between Mallari and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser in the second period.
"Well, whatever they will do, we are ready. I just instructed my players not to fight back," Austria said. "We will work hard next game because we don't want the series to be extended."
Nothing was going Phoenix's way. They missed several point-blank shots and they lost key players in Mallari and Mendoza while their defense didn't show its teeth.
Only Calvin Abueva finished in double figures for the Fuel Masters. Abueva finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
San Miguel 114 - Romeo 20, Cabagnot 18, Santos 16, Ross 10, Pessumal 10, Standhardinger 9, Fajardo 9, Rosser 8, Nabong 7, Zamar 5, Vigil 2, Lassiter 0, Mamaril 0, Tubid 0.
Phoenix 91 - Abueva 19, Jazul 9, Marcelo 9, Perkins 8, Chua 8, Kramer 7, Intal 7, Napoles 7, Wright 6, Mendoza 4, Mallari 3, Revilla 2, Dennison 2, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 27-20, 59-48, 89-63, 114-91.
San Miguel is the first team to score more than 100 points against Phoenix this conference, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.
Mallari was ejected after incurring two technical fouls in one sequence that was sparked by the collision between Alex Cabagnot and RJ Jazul with 2:22 remaining in the second period.
Game 5 is on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome.