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Whoppers win 3rd straight while handing Beermen 2nd loss in last 3 games

Arwind Santos struggled on both ends all night but made the crucial plays with the game on the line in overtime as Burger King handed San Miguel Beer just its second loss in the 2009 Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference, 107-105, Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The game was tied at 105-all and the Beermen had a chance to retake the lead after Shawn Daniels split his free throws with 41 seconds to play.

SMB went to Dondon Hontiveros for the go-ahead basket but Santos deflected his attempt from 3-point range. In the succeeding play, the 6-foor-4 forward worked the ball at the low right block and scored the clincher over Wesley Gonzales with 4.4 seconds remaining.

“It’s nice to see Arwind coming through at the right time. He got a mouthful from me after the first half. He responded to my harsh words and that’s the way it is. Great players respond well to those kind of situations,” said Burger King coach Yeng Guiao afterwards.

Santos, who had just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, eventually finished with 15. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block shot as the Whoppers improved to 7-5 (win-loss) record and stayed in the hunt for an outright semifinal spot.

“I don’t think its going to get any better than this. But it’s just one win. We need two more (against Talk ‘N Text and Purefoods) to stay in the running. I think the magic number is nine to make it outright to the semis,” Guiao said.

“But this win gives us a lot of confidence. We just have to keep believing that we can make it,” Guiao added.

Gary David showed the way for the Whoppers with 23 points but fouled out with under two minutes remaining and the outcome still undecided.

Daniels added 18 points and a personal conference-high 19 rebounds for his eighth double-double this conference and his defense held up against SMB import Gabe Freeman as Burger King claimed its third consecutive win.

Their only second loss in the tournament stalled the Beermen (9-2) from securing an outright place in the semifinals.

But they almost had it in their grasp.

With Freemen on the bench due to fouls and Jay Washington ejected after picking up two quick technicals midway in the second quarter, Mick Pennisi and Jonas Villanueva picked up the slack and led a 14-0 run that propelled the Beermen to a 57-42 advantage with 3:05 remaining in the period. SMB led 63-50 at halftime.

Then things begun to sour as the Beermen shot just 33 percent from the field in the third (6-of-18), enabling Burger King to make a run and trim the gap to just 77-78 going into the last 12 minutes.

The Whoppers took a 95-89 lead on a free throw by David with 2:42 left in the fourth but Freeman sank a free throw, Hontiveros hit a three and made two more free throws to tie the count with 1:40 to go.

A basket by Santos in the next play and a free throw by Egay Billones put the Burger King up by three again with 30 seconds to play.

On SMB’s final possession in regulation, the Beermen went to Pennisi but he missed the three. Villanueva cornered the rebound and quickly tossed the ball to Hontiveros who nailed the 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime.

Hontiveros, who failed to repeat in OT what he did at the end of regulation, led all scorers with 25 points and Freeman, who had a tough time against Daniels, added 22 and 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double in as many games. Danny Ildefonso also had his first double-double of the season with 14 and 11 rebounds for San Miguel, which lost center Dorian Pena on fouls early in the fourth. (DBC)

The scores:

Burger King 107 - David 23, Daniels 18, Santos 15, Billones 10, Aban 9, Rodriguez 8, Quinahan 8, Arboleda 6, Yee 5, Belga 5, Cruz 0.

San Miguel Beer 105 - Hontiveros 25, Freeman 22, Ildefonso 14, Pennisi 13, Villanueva 9, Washington 7, Pena 5, Gonzales 4, Pingris 4, Racela 2, Custodio 0, Bono 0.

Quarterscores: 28-34, 50-63, 76-77, 98-98, 107-105.

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