PBA: San Miguel survives Lassiter absence, late NorthPort rally to advance


Posted at Jul 24 2019 06:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2019 07:07 PM

Arwind Santos' baskets in the final 2 minutes proved crucial in San Miguel's series clincher over NorthPort on Wednesday. PBA Media Bureau

Chris McCullough scored 31 points, including the basket that proved to be the game winner, as San Miguel Beer staved off a late surge by NorthPort to win 90-88 on Wednesday and advance to the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.

The Beermen, seeded No. 7, overcame a twice-to-win handicap to march on to the next round, where they await the winner of the Blackwater-Rain Or Shine series.

That series will be decided at Araneta Coliseum on Thursday.

At the Big Dome, San Miguel saw its 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter evaporate, after Robert Bolick's 2 free throws and a 3-pointer by Sean Anthony put NorthPort ahead 86-82 inside 2 minutes to play.

But Arwind Santos answered with a triple and a transition bucket to give the Beermen back the lead 87-86.

NorthPort regained the driver's seat when Bolick scored on a high-angled layup, before McCullough answered with a similarly difficult shot for San Miguel to put the Beermen in front 89-88.

After a miss by Mo Tautuaa from downtown, NorthPort was forced to foul to stop the clock. 

McCullough made the first free throw, but missed the second, giving NorthPort, which had no timeouts left, 10 seconds to get a shot off.

But San Miguel's defense clamped down on NorthPort's shooters, leaving Bolick with no clear look from long distance.

Santos finished with 10 points off the bench, while Lassiter added 11 before he left the game in the first half because of a knee injury.

Garvo Lanete, instrumental in NorthPort's fourth-quarter comeback, led the Batang Pier with 22 points.

Tautuaa added 20, while Prince Ibeh contributed 15 points, 20 rebounds and 7 blocks.

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