[PHOTO AT LEFT - Arwind Santos of Burger King skywalks for an easy layup past Jay Washington and Gabe Freeman of San Miguel Beer in last night’s thriller. Jun Mendoza MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2009 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Wynne Arboleda delivered at an opportune time last night and Burger King lived to fight another game as it stopped San Miguel, 103-90, reducing the Beermen’s lead to 3-2 in their Motolite PBA Fiesta Cup best-of-seven showdown at the Araneta Coliseum.

Arboleda, averaging only 7.6 points a game in the tourney, knocked in five triples and 23 points, spearheading a determined BK stand that, in the end, kept them in chase of a return stint in the reinforced conference finals.

Shawn Daniels, Gary David and Egay Billones were also key factors as the Whoppers survived a big test in this contest, foiling the Beermen’s first of three cracks at a seat in the best-of-seven title playoff.

“We’re most vulnerable in this game because we’re playing minus three players (JR Quinahan, Mark Yee and Cholo Villanueva) and we’re coming off a game where we bungled a won game,” said BK coach Yeng Guiao.

“But there’s no way the guys would give up and would feel the series would end today. They’re upbeat in practice and in the dugout before the game. That’s a good sign to start the game,” Guiao added.

Overcoming a tough adversity in Game Five, Guiao said, would only make them a better team in Game Six.

“We’re not looking at the odds. We’re not even asking ourselves what the chances are. The important thing is for us to extend it to Sunday. With three guys coming back, we’ll have better chances of winning in Game Six,” said Guiao.

After battling the Beermen through 11 deadlocks and nine lead changes in the first half, the Whoppers got to make a decisive move, establishing control in the third period and going on to score a second win in the series.

Daniels came through with another solid all-round game with 15 rebounds, 12 points and six assists, David contributed 17 points and Billones put in 11 points, two rebounds and one assist.

Barangay Ginebra picked up from where it left off Wednesday, outclassing Rain or Shine for the second straight game for a 96-85 win and the 3-2 lead in their own semis series.

The Kings established control early and sustained the charge, making it two in a row versus the Elasto Painters to move a win shy of a return stint in the reinforced conference finale.

“It’s really been a tough series. Hopefully, we’ve got the right attitude how to deal with this team and we can pull it through Sunday,” said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved