MANILA, Philippines—Rain Or Shine could live with Chris McCullough's explosive 51-point performance in Game 3 of their semifinal series against San Miguel Beer.
This, as the Elasto Painters shackled the rest of the Beermen en route to a breakthrough 112-104 triumph, which allowed them to extend the best-of-5 series in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
McCullough was unstoppable, scoring 31 points in the first half alone to tow San Miguel back from an 18-point deficit. He wound up making 18 of 32 shots, but Alex Cabagnot (16) and Christian Standhardinger (14) were the only other Beermen in double-digit scoring.
June Mar Fajardo was limited to 8 points, and Chris Ross — who torched Rain Or Shine for 10 3-pointers in Game 2 last Monday — had just 6 markers.
"Kung umiskor 'yung isang tao ng ganu'n and limited 'yung iba, OK lang sa'min. Hindi naman kayang talunin ng iisang tao 'yung lima," said Rain Or Shine veteran Beau Belga.
"So kagandahan, hindi pumutok si Chris Ross, si June Mar limited, sinolo nu'ng import."
The Elasto Painters also got a massive stop on McCullough in the clutch, as Gabe Norwood blocked him and forced him to travel with 30 seconds left, while Rain Or Shine held a 107-104 lead.
That stop eventually led to Belga nailing the dagger 3-pointer on the other end with just 11 seconds to go.
"I mean, just try to be in the right place and make him work for shots. I mean, he had 51. So you know, it wasn’t like we played great defense on him the whole night," said Norwood of his crucial rejection.
"That possession just went our way and hopefully we can make him work a little harder next game."
Belga, however, would be OK if McCullough again decides to take matters into his own hands in Game 4, allowing the Elasto Painters to stay home on the San Miguel locals.
"Solohin niya na lang ulit next game, para masaya, 'di ba?" said Belga. "Kung umiskor siya ng 60, panalo kami, salamat ulit."
"Five-on-5 game 'yun. We need to involve everybody. Sa'min ngayon, sinabi ni coach Caloy (Garcia) na lahat ng ginamit niya nagcontribute when it comes to scoring," he added.
"So next game, kung 70 iiskorin niya, okay lang, basta 2 points yung iba."
McCullough is averaging 35 points per game in the series.
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