Last week, the battle for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship title began. Already the defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel was knocked out of consideration during the Playoffs semifinals, after falling to a determined TNT KaTropa team three games to one to secure the first berth on the Finals. On the other side, the last Commissioner’s Cup runner-up the San Miguel Beermen also cruised to a 3-1 semis victory to crush Rain or Shine’s hopes anew. Thus starting from August 4 TNT and San Miguel have clashed four times for supremacy, and from the look of things the favor of ultimate victory seems to be swinging back and forth.
ESPN 5 has it that on Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Sunday, August 11, the San Miguel Beermen cut off a potential breakaway streak by the Talk & Text KaTropa to tie the series at two matches each. This falls into the forming trend of the teams trading one win for another, with TNT drawing first blood on Game 1 last August 4. The Beermen fought back to win Game 2 (August 7) on double overtime, only for the KaTropa to take August 9.
Both TNT and San Miguel are bringing their A-plus games to this Best-of-Seven battlefield, with every game played thus far ending with triple-digit final scores. TNT took the lead first, while the Beermen made up for a slow First Quarter by blitzing the Second and Third. The KaTropa would rally to lead in the final quarter, but good return play by San Miguel (added to TNT’s low Q3 scoring) contributed to the series being even.
As expected, the imports took center stage in carrying their respective teams, with TNT’s Terrence Jones going 32 points and 16 rebounds, as expected of the one to be named the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup conference’s Best Import, awarded just before the start of Game 4. Jones’ teammate Jason Castro would get Best Player of the conference. None of these would matter on the court Sunday night against a Beermen squad led by their import Chris McCullough. He would contribute 27 points and 22 rebounds to the San Miguel victory, added to Alax Cabagnot’s 25 points and June Mar Fajardo’s 22.
Beermen coach Leo Austria commended his team for their singular focus and ability to stick to a winning plan. He considered Game 4 key to avoiding a painful 3-1 series situation on their side, something considered hard to bounce back from in PBA Finals history. A nail-biting tiebreaker awaits San Miguel and TNT KaTropa this coming Wednesday on August 14.
Image courtesy of Sports Inquirer.net