People say adversity come first before success. The San Miguel Beermen best exemplified the saying.
The Beermen’s championship pedigree was on full display in the endgame, as they fought past the Magnolia Hotshots, 72-71, in Game Seven of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Wednesday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
This batch of Beermen have now created a strong case for being the best All-Filipino squad of all-time. They have secured their fifth straight Philippine Cup championship – a feat no other team has ever achieved.
“I never thought we will win five straight Philippine Cup championships,” said a grateful SMB head coach Leo Austria.
Alex Cabagnot was at his best, topping San Miguel with 18 points. Meanwhile, June Mar Fajardo etched his name in the league’s history books yet again by collecting 17 points and a new all-time record of 31 rebounds.
Fajardo also bagged the Finals MVP honors with averages of 22.9 points, 19.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
San Miguel came back from a huge 17-point deficit in the third quarter, slowly chipping it away in the fourth quarter. That then paved the way for a tight battle that made this particular Finals game arguably the best in recent memory.
After a total of 10 lead changes inside the last 7:22, Cabagnot gave the Beermen a 72-71 edge with 57.2 seconds on the clock.
The Hotshots had chances to get the lead back on their side, but Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon missed their respective shots. Fajardo then grabbed those misses to give himself 30 rebounds, which was already a record.
But Lady Luck nearly favored Magnolia when Marcio Lassiter committed a measly turnover with exactly 17 seconds remaining. The ball had slipped away from him right after he received it from an inbound pass.
Magnolia then called for time and melted down the clock before trying to sink the game-winner. With around seven ticks left, a driving Paul Lee found Jalalon near the rim where he got checked, but Jalalon missed his shot.
Magnolia fouled June Mar Fajardo afterward to freeze the clock. They then had another chance when the 6-foot-10 center missed both his freebies; unfortunately, SMB prevented them from hoisting up a decent shot to seal the win.
Arwind Santos chimed in 17 points with 11 rebounds in the win that gave SMB their 26th PBA title.
Ian Sangalang had 18 points and six rebounds, as well as a steal and a block to lead Magnolia. The Hotshots have not won a Philippine Cup crown since 2014, or since the franchise still carried the San Mig Coffee Mixers name.
Rafi Reavis and Paul Lee had 11 markers apiece, with Lee adding six boards and six assists with a steal.
San Miguel 72 – Cabagnot 18, Santos 17, Fajardo 17, Ross 7, Lassiter 5, Romeo 4, Standhardinger 4, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.
Magnolia 71 – Sangalang 18, Reavis 11, Lee 11, Jalalon 8, Barroca 7, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 3, Brondial 2, Herndon 0.
Quarterscores: 20-24, 25-38, 50-58, 72-71.