Two out of three conferences went their way. What a year for the San Miguel Beermen.
As the 40th season of the Philippine Basketball Association now in the books, the San Miguel Beermen dominated the Governor’s Cup by completing the 4-0 finals sweep over the Alaska Aces with a 91-81 victory to cap off the season in dominating fashion on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska tweaked its starting unit by putting in Calvin Abueva and started the game with their best scoring five against the Beermen. This move paved the way for a quick 6-0 burst by the Aces on three field goals but was responded by SMB’s 10-2 counter courtesy of AZ Reid and back-to-back PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo’s inside presence. Rebounding was also a factor early with the defensive intensity by both teams as Calvin Abueva and Arwind Santos were able to haul nine apiece at the end of 12 minutes.
The paint battle between Fajardo and Sonny Thoss made it a closely-fought first frame while Chris Ross drilled in a three just before the first quarter buzzer sounded. The low-scoring affair favored the Aces while SMB muffed its last attempts from downtown. With Reid still on the floor for his team, he continued scoring in the paint against the frontcourt of the Aces. Fortunately for Alaska, the bench came to play and provide the usual energy they needed against San Miguel.
An RJ Jazul three-ball broke the 24-all deadlock but SMB countered with their own baskets in the second-quarter exchange. Travis Romeo was reinserted and instantly provided the buckets to jump start their late first half run. His jumpers were dropping efficiently while San Miguel’s isolation plays due to the Aces’ defense were helpful for Alaska as they built a double-digit lead. Good plays inside led to easy points by Ping Exciminiano and Calvin Abueva that enabled them to lead by a dozen after two quarters.
San Miguel outscored the Aces 33-16 in the third quarter as Reid matched the total output by the Aces with his fury in the period. Marcio Lassiter kicked off the scoring for his squad to slice Alaska’s lead while an excellent perimeter defense helped SMB’s cause. In the middle of the canto, Reid started to fire hot especially from the perimeter as they started to take control of the game against Alaska, who cooled down with their shooting. In the last part of the third quarter, the Beermen went almost exclusively to their MVP as he delivered the inside points.
Carrying the momentum until the last quarter, Fajardo continued his monstrous performance underneath and push their lead to double-digits against the seemingly lost Alaska team. The Aces went blanking on needed shots while SMB continued to increase their lead with their all-Filipino five on the floor. As they re-deployed Reid back into the game, instant offense by the bridesmaid best-import finisher lifted his team down the stretch. Alaska managed to slice the lead down to single digits but SMB proved to be too much as the Beermen capped the Governor’s Cup crown.
This is SMB’s 21st PBA title, 16th with an import and 5th in the Governor’s Cup.
Reid finished the game with 33 points including six triples. Fajardo closed out this spectacular Friday night of his with the penultimate PBA crown together with his dominating 19 points, 21 rebounds, 3 steals and two blocks.
San Miguel (91) – Reid 33, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 12, Espinas 8, Santos 6, Cabagnot 5, Semerad 3, Ross 3, Lutz 2, Tubid 0
Alaska(81) – Abueva 22, Travis 15, Thoss 13, Baguio 7, Exciminiano 7, Casio 5, Menk 4, Banchero 3, Jazul 3, Dela Rosa 2, Hontiveros 0, Manuel 0
Quarterscores: 18-17, 37-49, 70-65, 91-81