Coach Tim Cone literally issued a distress call, and the Barangay Ginebra Kings responded with a solid game.
"Kung hindi nai-shoot ni Arwind yung three-point shot, 1-1 na ang series. Dahil naging 2-0, malaking morale-booster ito sa amin," Austria added.
But the San Miguel Beermen refused to lose and found a way to steal the game in the end.
June Mar Fajardo delivered another huge double-double game while Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter came through big time in the clutch as the Beermen squeaked past the Kings, 104-102, in overtime for a commanding 2-0 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Santos forged the extra period on a huge trey with 13.4 ticks to go in regulations then Lassiter took over, coming away with a crucial six-point binge in the last 50 seconds to save the day for the Beermen.
"Isa lang masasabi ko - eto eh tsamba," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
Ginebra got the crowd roaring for the large part of the game, but the Beermen disappointed the Kings and their diehards in the end on their escape act.
Before the game, Cone practically put on an SOS, calling on their fans to come out and support them.
The Kings, including free agent recruit Prince Caperal, themselves answered the call and played with great energy and purpose to take control most of the way.
Japeth Aguilar erupted for 28 points while Caperal turned in an unlikely huge performance with 26 markers that went with eight rebounds and three assists.
From late in the first quarter, the Kings stayed in the lead until Santos grabbed a loose ball and made a step-back jumper to tie the count at 95 with 13.4 ticks left.
The game went into overtime as Joe Devance missed on a tough drive off Santos himself, then Scottie Thompson also missed a putback.
"Credit to their coaching staff, they made a good adjustment, including the game played by Caperal. But my players just wouldn't lose the game and I salute them," said Austria.
Fajardo endured another tough helping defense by the Kings and piled up 33 points and 19 rebounds. Then there were Santos' and Lassiter's heroics.
With two big treys late in the regulations, Santos got away with his own double-double game with 11 markers and 10 boards while Lassiter came up with 25 points highlighted by his crucial salvo in the end.
Given the open looks, Caperal made his shots and led the way as the Gin Kings took the half at 55-42.
Caperal connected on 7-of-12 field shots and 2-of-2 charities as he made 17 points, surpassing his previous career-high of 12 just in the first half.
The Kings took control most of the first half on a 51.2-percent clip (21-of-41) as against the Beermen's 41-percent shooting (16-of-39). (SB)
SAN MIGUEL 104 - Fajardo 33, Lassiter 25, Cabagnot 13, Ross 13, Santos 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Heruela 2, Pessumal 0, De Ocampo 0, Espinas 0.
BARANGAY GINEBRA 102 - Aguilar 28, Caperal 26, Devance 11, Thompson 10, Cruz 10, Tenorio 8, Mercado 7, Mariano 2.
Quarters: 25-30, 42-55, 70-73, 95-95, 104-102 (OT).