Beermen take lead in finals series

Chris Ross of San Miguel Beer (left) challenges Don Trollano of Talk 'N' Text in Game 5 of the finals series. (PBA)

San Miguel Beer unleashed a furious late-game rally to pull off a thrilling 99-94 victory over TNT KaTropa in Game 5 of their Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series late Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import Chris McCullough delivered the telling blows to push the Beermen on the brink of winning the title.

McCullough knocked down a hotly contested layup over Terrence Jones to give Beermen the lead, 95-94, in the final 26.6 seconds before sinking four free throws to seal the victory and hand the KaTropa their first back-to-back losses of the season.

The former NBA campaigner finished the night with 35 points and 22 rebounds while Terrence Romeo chipped in 22 points to go with June Mar Fajardo’s 16 markers and 11 rebounds for the Beermen, who trailed by as many as 16 points before launching the heart-stopping rally.

“I’m happy with the players because they accepted their roles,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

“Our import didn’t lose his composure. He really wanted to take charge and he did. I think someone above helped us grab this win.”

Jones, the Best Import awardee, delivered 35 points and 17 rebounds while Jayson Castro added 18 for the KaTropa, who had a massive meltdown down the stretch, setting the stage for McCullough to assert his dominance.

The Beermen will go for the jugular in Game 6 on Friday at the same venue.

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p: wjg