San Miguel simply brought back its championship form, poise and composure as the Beermen once again got back at TNT KaTropa, 106-101, in Game Four of their PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-seven title showdown Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chris McCullough, Alex Cabagnot and June Mar Fajardo all scored at least 22 points each, Von Pessumal helped open the lane for his teammates with 4-of-7 three-pointers while Chris Ross did away with his mind game with Terrence Jones and proved productive with eight assists, seven markers, six rebounds, two steals and one block.
Together, they put up a whale of a fight and beat out the KaTropa in an exciting seesaw basketball to reduce the series to a best-of-three affair.
The Beermen and the KaTropa fight for the pivotal 3-2 lead in Game Five Wednesday also at the Big Dome.
Though Jones still had mild confrontations with Arwind Santos then with Kelly Nabong late in the game, the game was relatively cleaner than the three previous matches.
Before the game, Jones and Jayson Castro won the Best Import and the Best Player of the Conference awards. Then right at the opening tip, the Beermen showed their determination to steal the thunder.
The KaTropa grabbed the lead, 52-51, at the half but the Beermen zoomed to a double-digit spread again in the second half, leading by as many as 15, 84-69, on a key run in a stretch bridging the last two quarters.
But just when it appeared SMB was headed for a cruise, the KaTropa waged another fightback, coming to within two at 96-98 with 40.3 seconds to go.
The Beermen, however, stayed unfazed, with McCullough and Fajardo teaming up in a key play to make in 100-96 then Cabagnot and Ross sank freebies that sealed the deal.
"Our small guys made big shots, got lots of rebounds, hit free throws and won the game for us," said McCullough, lauding the Cabagnot and Ross for their heroics.
Actually, McCullough himself kept the Beermen afloat with eight straight points in the fourth before issuing a perfect dish to Fajardo that it a two-possession game for SMB with 27.2 seconds to go.
McCullough finished with 27 points and 22 rebounds with four assists, one steal and one block.
Cabagnot matched his 25-point output in Game Two while Fajardo collected 22 markers.
Jones marked his Best Import coronation with another solid all-around game with 32 markers, 16 boards and six dish-offs.
San Miguel 106 - McCullough 27, Cabagnot 25, Fajardo 22, Pessumal 14, Ross 7, Standhardinger 5, Romeo 4, Santos 2.
TNT 101 - Jones 32, Rosario 24, Castro 17, Trollano 16, Pogoy 9, Heruela 3, Casino 0, Magat 0, Carey 0.
Quarterscores: 31-22, 51-52, 82-69, 106-101.