Chris McCullough of SMB soars for a lay-up against TNT's Terrence Jones.
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Beermen rally to stun KaTropa, seize pivotal 3-2 lead
Olmin Leyba (Philstar.com) - August 14, 2019 - 10:11pm

Game Friday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. - San Miguel Beer vs TNT KaTropa (Game 6)
(SMB leads best of seven series, 3-2)

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer beat TNT KaTropa to the draw in posting the very first back-to-back triumphs in their tightly-fought title duel. And now the Beermen stand on the verge of winning the PBA Commissioner's Cup crown.

Riding high from their 106-101 equalizer three nights before, the Beermen put up a fighting performance in pivotal Game Five, rallying from 16 points down to score a dramatic 99-94 followup and move one victory away from wrapping up the best-of-seven contest Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Chris McCullough turned in a dominant outing of 35 points, including 19 in SMB's telling 30-14 fourth-quarter salvo, to go with 22 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, while Christian Standhardinger held TNT's Terrence Jones to a solitary point in the last seven minutes to key the Beermen's pulsating W.

"In situations like these, the players' composure and experience always come in handy. As long as there's minutes left to play, we know we can catch up and that's what happened tonight," said SMB coach Leo Austria whose team also dealt TNT its first successive setback of the tournament.

The KaTropa were dominating the Beermen all throughout, enjoying an 85-69 at the start of the fourth and maintaining a 90-77 cushion going to the last 6:19.

McCullough then took over, rattling 13 to spearhead SMB's searing windup, including the go-ahead driving lay-up and insurance freebies.
 
Standhardinger did his part by hounding the tired Jones in the final push, forcing the Best Import to a crucial miss that led to McCullough's defensive rebound and subsequent trip to the stripe that stretched their lead to 97-94., 13.3 ticks left.

Troy Rosario managed to launch a three-pointer but missed the mark and Chris Ross cleaned up the board, drew a foul and sank his charities for the final count.

"I think we had help from up high. It's not easy to win this game especially being down by 16," said Austria who can clinch it on Friday.

"But I'm happy with the players for accepting their roles, especially Standhardinger, he's my hero tonight. Even though he's not scoring and getting playing time, he played his role and contained Jones from backcourt to front court," he added.

Jones still finished with 35-17-8 but only accounted for three markers in the endgame.

"We had this game, we let it slip away," said TN mentor Bong Ravena. "But we have to remember we're facing an opponent who has been here a lot of times, they're a champion team and they know what to how to play in the finals."

Terrence Romero chipped in 22 and June Mar Fajardo added 16 in backup roles to McCullough.

Jayson Castro (18) and Rosario (16) supported Jones' near triple-double.

BEERMEN KATROPA PBA FINALS SAN MIGUEL TNT
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