McCullough catches fire late as San Miguel drags NorthPort to KO match
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel staved off elimination against NorthPort with an all-important 98-84 quarterfinals victory in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, July 21.
Import Chris McCullough caught fire late and finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 assists as the No. 7 Beermen forced a rubber match against the twice-to-beat Batang Pier – who ended the elimination round at No. 2.
Trailing by as many as 17 points, NorthPort was primed to punch its ticket to the semifinals after narrowing the gap to a single point, 81-82, behind Robert Bolick and import Prince Ibeh.
However, San Miguel did not crumble and answered ferociously, unloading a win-clinching 18-0 spurt sparked and capped by triples from McCullough.
During that run, the Batang Pier went scoreless for 6 minutes and only managed to score a point with 36 seconds left off a Kevin Ferrer foul shot.
Chris Ross chalked up 18 points and 9 rebounds, Arwind Santos added 15 points and 6 rebounds, while June Mar Fajardo delivered 11 points, 19 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in the triumph.
Bolick put up 20 points – with 8 coming in the final frame – to go with 6 assists and 2 steals but they could not replicate their success in eliminations when they dominated the Beermen by 33 points.
Ibeh had 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocks before fouling out late in the 4th, while Mo Tautuaa and Paolo Taha had 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss.
The two teams face in a knockout match on Wednesday, July 24, at the same venue.
San Miguel 98 - McCullough 24, Ross 18, Santos 15, Fajardo 11, Lassiter 8, Standhardinger 7, Romeo 6, Cabagnot 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Pessumal 0, Vigil 0.
NorthPort 84 - Bolick 20, Ibeh 12, Tautuaa 12, Taha 11, Mercado 7, Anthony 6, Ferrer 6, Lanete 4, Elorde 2, Cruz 2, Flores 2, Gabayni 0.
Quarters: 28-18, 47-42, 73-65, 98-84.