MVP Arwind shows up as San Miguel takes 3-2 Finals lead
Paul Lintag on Jun 30, 2017 09:42 PM
2013 PBA MVP Arwind Santos carried the Beermen in the second half as San Miguel moved to one win away from winning the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
San Miguel's script for winning in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals has been pretty consistent: overwhelm TNT in the second half.
Down by 15 at the break, the Beermen made it rain in the final 24 minutes, scoring a 111-102 victory Friday at the Big Dome to take a crucial 3-2 lead against the KaTropa in the best-of-7 championship series.
Santos scored 14 points in the third period, leading San Miguel's uprising to from a 46-61 deficit and negate TNT's impeccable three-point shooting in the first half.
With the KaTropa making one final run in the fourth, it was Arwind as well that scored the dagger as his wide-open layup gave San Miguel a safe 109-102 lead with 35 seconds to go.
"I thought after the first half talo na kami because we were not playing the usual game that we have. The second half I think sinuwerte lang kami maybe because of our defense. Kaya madami nagsasabi, defense wins championships," head coach Leo Austria said.
"Yung mga players talagang they refused to lose and that's the character we got in the last four championships," he added.
Led by Ranidel De Ocampo, TNT dropped the hammer in the second quarter, outscoring San Miguel, 35-17, to establish a 15-point lead.
However, behind Santos' effort, the Beermen would return the favor to start the second half, doubling up on the KaTropa in the third, 36-18, before Alex Cabagnot finished the job in the last 12 minutes to move to within one win from a second straight title this season.
Cabagnot scored a game-high 28 points for San Miguel, 12 in the fourth quarter, on top of eight rebounds and seven assists while Santos added 27 points, eight rebounds, five blocks, and two steals.
Import Charles Rhodes was also big for the Beermen, going for another 20 points and 14 boards. Chris Ross bounced back from a horrible Game 4 to post a 10-point, 11-assists double-double. The newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference also had five steals.
After draining 11 triples in the first two quarters, TNT went cold in the last two, going scoreless in the first four minutes of the third period as the Beermen went on a game-changing 20-4 run to regain the lead, 66-65.
De Ocampo led the KaTropa with 19 points but had zero in the second half. Kris Rosales came off the bench to add 16 but had zero in the fourth quarter.
Jayson Castro, celebrating his 31st birthday, also played a reserve role and scored 12 points on top of six rebounds and 12 assists.
SAN MIGUEL 111 - Cabagnot 28, Santos 27, Rhodes 20, Lassiter 17, Ross 10, Fajardo 9, Heruela 0, Espinas 0, D. Semerad 0, Tubid 0, De Ocampo 0.
TNT 102 - De Ocampo 19, Rosales 16, Smith 15, Rosario 12, A. 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.
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