The San Miguel Beermen overcame a late surge from the TNT KaTropa to grab a tough 106-101 victory in Game 4 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel did enough in the endgame to equalize the best-of-seven championship series at 2-2.
Chris McCullough topped with 27 points and 22 rebounds for the Beermen. Alex Cabagnot came next with 25 points including four clutch free throw shots that iced the win, followed by June Mar Fajardo's 22-point and 7-rebound output.
"This game was really important for us. We don't want to be in a 1-3 position and it's really hard to recover," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria."I salute all the players. They were so focused in this game, they were able to follow our game plan."
The Beermen opened the fourth quarter with a 15-point lead after a blistering 20-4 run. Fajardo led the rally with 10 straight points while Von Pessumal and Cabagnot capped it with a pair of 3-point shots.
Newly-crowned BPC Jayson Castro took charge in TNT's counter-attack that cut the deficit to just four, 94-90, with 3:51 left. McCullough and Terrence Jones exchanged baskets, which kept San Miguel ahead by four approaching the final minute.
Jones pushed the KaTropa within one possession after grabbing a couple of offensive boards and nailing two free throws, but Fajardo responded with a crucial layup on the other end.
Troy Rosario kept the window open by knocking down a 3 with 11 seconds left. The Beermen, however, took care of business from the free throw line to seal the deal.
"We're lucky tonight because in the endgame, we were able to hold our four-point lead. We're able to knock those shots," said Austria. "I hope this game will give us some momentum and confidence going to Game 5."
Jones finished with 32 points and 16 rebounds for the KaTropa, while Rosario added 24 markers and eight boards.
San Miguel 106 - McCullough 27, Cabagnot 25, Fajardo 22, Pessumal 14, Ross 7, Standhardinger 5, Romeo 4, Santos 2.
TNT 101 - Jones 32, Rosario 24, Castro 17, Trollano 16, Pogoy 9, Heruela 3, Casino 0, Magat 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 31-22, 51-52, 82-69, 106-101.
- Jayson Castro and Terrence Jones received their Best Player and Best Import of the Conference awards before the game.
- The KaTropa failed to capitalize on the Beermen's 21 turnovers and only posted a 25-20 advantage in turnover points.
- Arwind Santos moved to the seventh spot of the PBA's all-time rebounding list after grabbing six boards in the match, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.
Game 5 on Wednesday, August 14, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum