Willie Miller showed why he won the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice as he helped lift Alaska Milk to a thrilling 77-75 win over San Miguel Beer in the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Faceoff on Monday before a sizable crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Still wily and funny at 41, Miller exploded for 34 points in leading the Milkmen to a vengeful win over the Beermen in their winner-take-all match for the P1 million top prize.
He also produced four assists, three rebounds to share the limelight with one-time MVP Johnny Abarrientos who masterminded the team’s fightback early in the payoff period that saw them rally from a 60-52 deficit.
Flashing some of his patented moves that drew oohs and aahs during his heydays, Abarrientos scattered 12 points to go well with his six assists, six rebounds, and four steals.
Playing his best game in the four-team, one-month tournament, four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio put on a double-double show as Purefoods overpowered Ginebra, 98-75m in the battle for third place in the event organized by UNTV President and CEO Dr. Daniel Razon.
Patrimonio tallied 16 points and 13 boards, the bulk coming early in the fourth period where the Hotdogs made a decisive run to rip the game wide apart.
But the night’s biggest winner was the PBA Legends Foundation itself which is headed by former Crispa hotshot Atoy Co.
Including the top purse of P1 million, the foundation received a tax-free P2 million prize from the organizing UNTV.
Razon, who was accompanied by other Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International-UNTV bigwigs including Gerry Panghulan, said the P2 million will be used by former PBA players who are either sick or in need of financial assistance.
Alaska’s title win ended San Miguel’s four-game winning run in the tournament, including a massive 76-61 drubbing of the Milkmen in the elims.
Alaska 77 – Miller 34, Abarrientos 12, Laure 8, Cariaso 8, Santos 6, Ferriols 5, Hawkins 3, Lastimosa 1, Lim 0, Gomez 0.
San Miguel 75 – Calaguio 23, Caidic 16, Adriano 15, Racela 8, Castillo 6, Belasco 5, Gamboa 2.
Quarterscores: 19-21, 37-34, 52-60, 77-75.
Battle for Third
Purefoods 98 – Yap 20, Patrimonio 16, Espinosa 14, Capacio 13, Lago 10, Codinera 10, Santamaria 7, Ravena 6, Balingit 2, Pumaren 0.
Ginebra 75 – Palad 15, Orquillas 14, David 11, Jarencio 9, Marzan 9, Jose 8, Feihl 8, Hizon 0, Cheng 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21, 42-39, 69-62, 98-75.