San Miguel squanders lead, beats Ginebra in double OT

The San Miguel Beermen squandered all of a 24-point advantage but managed to eke out a 111-105 victory over the Ginebra Gin Kings in double-overtime to claim their fourth win of the 2016 PBA Governors Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In a game watched by a crowd of 12,423 fans, the Beermen leaned on clutch plays by import AZ Reid in the second overtime, as he scored off crucial putbacks from June Mar Fajardo's misses, while at the same time limiting Ginebra counterpart Justin Brownlee.

Reid scored 26 points - six of which came in the second overtime - to go along with 16 rebounds, while Fajardo bucked a slow start to finish with 17 points and 17 boards.

"Wala na akong masasabi sa mga players," SMB head coach Leo Austria said after the game. "Both teams, ginawa nila lahat ng paraan para manalo, and in the last two extensions, wala na kaming palitan. Buti na lang, my players are in top shape."

The Beermen thoroughly dominated the first half, raining down 10 three-pointers against the Gin Kings. They were still ahead, 71-47, with 6:34 to go in the third quarter after a jump shot by Chris Ross, and looked as though they will cruise to the victory.

But Ross' exit due to an ankle tweak with five minutes left in the third helped Ginebra work their way back in the game. Brownlee carried the scoring load for Ginebra in the third period, while Joe Devance stepped up in the fourth quarter to anchor the offense. On the other end, the Beermen saw their offense sputter, with Fajardo resorting to forcing his way inside for free throws.

A fadeaway jumper by Brownlee over the outstretched arms of Reid tied the game at 89 with 30.4 seconds left, and the Gin Kings put together a strong defensive stand in the final possession, with Brownlee bothering Alex Cabagnot's three-pointer, and Japeth Aguilar emphatically blocking Fajardo's putback attempt to send the game to overtime.

The Beermen opened the extension with nine unanswered points, capped by Fajardo's putback of Ronald Tubid's missed three-pointer, and looked to be in control as they led 98-89 with 2:10 to go.

The Gin Kings, however, showed the "never say die" spirit. Bolstered by the crowd, they roared back into the game with LA Tenorio and Sol Mercado nailing back-to-back three-pointers. Another triple by Brownlee made it a two-point game, 100-98, with 17.9 seconds to play.

The Beermen then flubbed a golden opportunity to clinch the win when Tubid only made one of two free throws, and Aguilar made them pay for a brutal lapse on defense as he drained the game-tying three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left.

"Nag-relax sila," Austria said of his players. "Imagine, naitira pa ni Japeth ang three-points. Very clear ang instructions, na they have no timeout, so take care of their man, and kung maari, two points lang ang ibigay. Pero nangyayari talaga 'yun."

San Miguel still had a chance to win, but Aguilar broke up a lob to Fajardo with 2.1 seconds left.

Both teams exchanged buckets to open the second overtime, but San Miguel took the lead for good when Marcio Lassiter drained two free throws off a foul by Chris Ellis. Reid then scored off a Fajardo miss, and later added two free throws from a 109-103 lead with 1:42 remaining.

It was a lead they would not relinquish, as Ginebra only managed two more points the rest of the way.

"Our opponent is Ginebra, and alam naman natin na pagka Ginebra, and sister team, lahat ng players ay pumped up," said Austria. "We have to give credit to the players of both teams. Walang kapa-kapatid."

Brownlee finished with 38 points and 22 rebounds, but had to sit out the final 1:42 due to cramps. Tenorio had 17 points, and Aguilar finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and four blocked shots.

After scoring 10 three-pointers in the first half, San Miguel would make only six the rest of the way. The Beermen shot 38% from the game, but held a huge 67-56 advantage on the boards.

Ginebra, for its part, shot 43%, and had 30 assists on their 43 made field goals.

San Miguel improved to 4-1, while Ginebra saw its three-game winning streak snapped. The Gin Kings dropped to 4-2 in the season-ending conference.

Source: ABS CBN News