Despite shooting an atrocious 25 percent from the field, Alex Cabagnot was the man of the hour for the San Miguel Beermen, as a long 2 with just 7 seconds left in regulation capped off a Beer-tacular comeback, sending the game into overtime.
Those extra five minutes were all the Beermen needed to send the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters stinging with a 107 – 101 loss they could have avoided. But in this slugfest between basketball giants, the team that packs the biggest punch wins the game, and what bigger punch in the PBA is there than Junemar Fajardo?
Out of the gates, both teams hit the ground running, Rain or Shine opening with their patented offensive blitz, hitting shots from the outside courtesy of Jewel Ponferada, Jeff Chan, and Beau Belga. But San Miguel joined in the 3-point party and one-upped their hosts starting the game by hitting their first 6 3 pointers courtesy of Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Arwind Santos.
Despite firing on all cylinders, the Beermen found themselves with a small 32-28 lead over the Elasto Painters, a situation they do not often find themselves in. Rain or Shine tried to shock the Beermen’s 2nd unit and took the lead early in the 2nd quarter off even more hot shooting from James Yap, Dexter Maiquez, and Don Trollano. But once the starters came back in for San Miguel, the lead slowly slipped away from the Painters and back into the hands of the Beermen.
Starting the 2nd half, Rain or Shine capitalized on their physical and suffocating defense, forcing the Beermen to struggle from the field while continuing to pour in the buckets themselves. The quarter ended with the lead changing hands yet again and it seemed like it was there to stay with Rain or Shine for the rest of the game.
Unable to hit from outside, the Beermen watched as Rain or Shine began building a sizeable lead over them through transition plays off rebounds. With less than 6 minutes left in the game, Coach Leo Austria unleashed the Kraken to feast upon the undersized lineup of Rain or Shine. Junemar Fajardo scored three baskets to tie the game at 90.
The game looked beyond reach after Chris Tiu and Beau Belga both hit threes giving Rain or Shine a commanding 6-point lead with less than 3 minutes left in regulation. But the Kraken was not yet done. Fajardo took his team on his broad shoulders and cut the lead to two with 42 seconds left.
A Gabe Norwood miss opened a window of opportunity for San Miguel which was abruptly shut when neither Arwind who grabbed the rebound, or Chris Ross who brought the ball down, called for a timeout, only to later turn the ball over.
Ross got that window of opportunity back, tapping the ball away from Beau Belga on the inbound onto Alex Cabagnot who promptly calls the timeout.
One inbound play designed for Junemar later, Alex Cabagnot shocks Rain or Shine by pulling up from distance and making the shot, only his foot was on the line. From there San Miguel found its rhythm again in overtime to handily put away their fellow giant in Rain or Shine.
San Miguel continues to tower over the standings while Rain or Shine faces off against GlobalPort Batang Pier to fight for 2nd place in the PBA.