Allan Caidic exploded just in the nick of time to tow San Miguel Beer to a 96-83 victory over Alaska in a battle of two Grand Slam teams in the Return of the Rivals, Sunday evening at a packed SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Struggling for the most of the match, Caidic found his groove in the final minutes, scoring the last eight of SMB’s 13-1 scoring spree en route to a 91-79 lead with 2:04 left to play to leave the gutsy Alaska side on the dust.
Caidic, touted as the greatest shooter in PBA history and the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1990, finished with a game-high 26 points — including 16 in the fourth quarter alone — spiked by six three-pointers.
Denok Miranda supplied 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the victory. Two-time league Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso produced 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Dondon Hontiveros made 11 points and 11 boards.
The Beermen actually went down by as much as 10 multiple times in the match, but Ildefonso led their fightback in the third quarter that saw them outscore the Milkmen 30-19 to take a 62-59 lead heading into the final period.
San Miguel would then enjoy the driver’s seat after that, but another two-time league MVP Willie Miller showed up when needed and strapped Alaska on his back. His three-pointer at the 6:06-mark sent the match into a 78-all deadlock.
However, Caidic and San Miguel responded by pulling off a 13-1 scoring blitz to propel themselves to a 12-point lead with 2:04 on the clock.
Kenneth Duremdes and Johnny Abarrientos scored back-to-back hits to trim the deficit to just eight, 83-91, with 1:27 to go, but Olsen Racela’s jumper and Ildefonso’s triple shut the door close for Alaska once and for all.
San Miguel will be going home with a hefty PHP 100,000 with the win, while Caidic will take home PHP 25,000.
Miller set the pace for the Milkmen with 20 points and eight rebounds. 1996 MVP Abarrientos made 11 markers and 10 boards. John Ferriols only scored four points, but he made up for with by hauling down 10 rebounds as well.
San Miguel (96) – Caidic 26, Miranda 17, Ildefonso 14, Hontiveros 11, Belasco 7, Alvarez 6, Racela 5, Agustin 4, Calaguio 3, Gamboa 2, Paras 1, Reyes 0, Asaytono 0, Teng 0, Abuda 0.
Alaska (83) – Miller 20, Abarrientos 11, Santos 9, Dela Cruz 8, Cariaso 7, Laure 6, Duremdes 5, Juinio 5, Lastimosa 4, Ferriols 4, Gomez 2, Hawkins 2, Sotto 0, Adornado 0.
Quarterscores: 20-21, 32-40, 62-59, 96-83.