Shabazz Muhammad erupted for 57 points to lead an incredible comeback from 26 down as San Miguel Beer stunned Meralco, 115-110, Saturday, March 5 in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Muhammad made 45 of his points in the second half, playing like a one-man wrecking crew that enabled the Beermen to overturn the huge margin and end the eliminations on an incredible note with a 7-4 record.
The former NBA player did it from almost every angle, knocking down three-point shots while also scoring layups in transition that perhaps left Meralco salivating on what could have been.
Meralco, which initially signed Muhammad before the start of the conference only for the latter to back out at the last minute due to a family matter, later succumb to its third straight defeat and fell to a tie for fourth with the Alaska Aces at 6-4.
“It looked like a miracle,” said SMB coach Leo Austria. “They’re leading by 26 points, you thought na it’s impossible. And what happened tonight was a gift for us.”
Muhammad went 18-of-29 from the field, including five triples while adding 19 rebounds in 45 minutes.
His last field goal put SMB in front 111-110 with 29 seconds left with help from June Mar Fajardo, who was able to knock the ball away from Cliff Hodge after Muhammad missed two free throws.
Chris Ross also made a key stop on the next play, forcing Allein Maliksi to make a bad entry pass for Meralco import in the post before Muhammad made two charities to make it a three-point game, 113-110.
Meralco tried to tie things up in the dying seconds, but Chris Banchero and Maliksi muffed their three-point attempts and Terrence Romeo celebrated the win by scoring a last-second layup to settle the final score.
Bishop finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three steals, but the bitter taste of its meltdown may linger for the Bolts.
The Bolts, however, remain in the hunt for a top four finish and the twice-to-beat advantage going into their match against the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters on Friday.
SAN MIGUEL 115 — Muhammad 57, Fajardo 16, Manuel 13, Lassiter 10, Romeo 9, Perez 6, Tautuaa 4, Brondial 0, Ross 0, Cruz 0.
MERALCO 110 — Bishop 29, Quinto 18, Maliksi 16, Banchero 13, Black 13, Almazan 9, Hugnatan 7, Newsome 5, Hodge 0.
Quarters: 28-36, 46-70, 83-92, 115-110.