PBA: TIGERS ROAR BACK TO EVEN SERIES

MANILA, December 4, 2003  (STAR) By Joey Villar - Coca-Cola rode on a fiery second quarter run to cushion the impact of Artemus McClary’s ejection in the third period as the Tigers roared back to demolish the Kwan Johnson-less San Miguel Beermen, 103-79, in a fight-marred game last night in Game Two of the Samsung PBA Reinforced Conference crown at the Araneta Coliseum.

What was supposed to be a family affair turned into an ugly sibling rivalry when McClary punched Beerman Danny Ildefonso in the back during a deadball situation with still 9.53 left in the third period.

The San Miguel cager retaliated with a solid right straight to the lower chin of McClary, sending the stunned Coca-Cola import to the floor. Both players were subsequently ejected.

Cooler heads intervened and prevented the fracas from getting out of hand.

Ildefonso, who led his team to a thrilling 84-81 win in the series’ opener last Sunday, and McClary, a leading candidate for the Best Import award, were to be summoned by the PBA Commissioner’s Office and are expected to be slapped with heavy fines.

But both players may escape suspension since the league does not suspend erring cagers during a championship series.

Game Three is set tomorrow, also at the Big Dome.

So prolific was McClary that he scored 19 points, including nine from beyond the arc, snared 11 rebounds, dished off five assists, had a steal and a shot block in an abbreviated 26-minute stint.

With Johnson helplessly watching from the sidelines with a groin injury, McClary and Jeffrey Cariaso did their thing, combining in a big second quarter Coca-Cola binge that set the tone for the rout.

"We’re not thinking of winning. We just focused on playing our usual game," said Reyes. "But, of course, it was all made easy by the fact that Johnson was not around."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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