Beermen nail back-to-back with McCullough, move up to seventh spot

Chris McCullough followed up his 47-point San Miguel debut with a 37-point outing in just 32 minutes of action as the Beermen dislodged Phoenix Pulse at seventh spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elims with a 128-108 drubbing of the Fuel Masters Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Picking up from where he left off in his spectacular initial game with the Beermen Friday, the former Brooklyn Net scattered 21 markers just in the first half, enabling San Miguel to set the tone of the match early also with boost from June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo.

The Beermen established a huge 22-point lead in the first half and breezed through in the second half even with Romeo taking an early rest with a jammed finger.

With back-to-back wins, the Beermen moved up to seventh at 4-5 while the Fuel Masters dropped to joint eighth with the Alaska Milk Aces at 4-6.

San Miguel chases an outright quarters entry in playing its last two games against Rain or Shine in a Petron Blaze Saturday Special in Cagayan de Oro and versus Meralco at the close of the elims on July 17 at the Big Dome.

The Fuel Masters fight for their own quarters bid in taking on the NLEX Road Warriors Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“Naghahabol kami, kaya lahat ng laro ay importante sa amin,” said Fajardo, also coming through with big numbers with 22 points and 14 rebounds although already sitting out the entire fourth quarter.

The outcome of the game was beyond doubt at the end of the third with the Beermen leading by 27 points.

Alex Cabagnot (with 16 points), Romeo (13) and Christian Standhardinger (10) were three other Beermen who hit double figures.

McCullough, Romeo and Fajardo all had had at least 10 markers by the half where the Beermen sat on a 61-45 cushion.

The Beermen were back in the groove with McCullough providing the spark and the wakeup call heading to the homestretch of the elims.

“Medyo maganda na uli ang nilalaro namin, at lahat nagtutulungan,” said Fajardo.

The Fuel Masters, meanwhile, just didn’t have the answer for the Beermen’s tremendous firepower, with Richard Howell a marked man, held to just 15 markers.

The scores:

San Miguel 128 – McCullough 37, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 16, Romeo 13, Standhardinger 10, Pessumal 8, Lassiter 6, Santos 5, Lanete 3, Nabong 3, Ross 3, Zamar 2.

Phoenix 108 – Howell 15, Wright 14, Guevarra 14, Chua 12, Jazul 12, Mallari 10, Intal 8, Perkins 7, Marcelo 5, Napoles 5, Kramer 4, Gamboa 2, Wilson 0, Dennison 0.

Quarters: 30-21, 61-45, 97-70, 128-108.—Source:

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