By EDDIE G. ALINEA
No, it’s not a ‘miracle”, as others put it, that spelled San Miguel Beer’s historic conquest of the PBA 2015-2016 Philippine Cup.
It’s ‘pride’ in the food and beverage firm’s rich tradition as one of the pillars in the growth sports in this country. A winning tradition that, for almost a century, from the time Spanish businessman, Senor Enrique Maria Barreto y Ycasa, brought it flagship product to this shore, San Miguel upheld.
From that time on, the men and women who carried the company logo in he field of sports, have provided the bright backdrop lof the country’s competitiveness global sports be it in boys football, golf as many-time main sponsor of Asia’s oldest Philippine Open, cycling, chess, baseball, softball, every sport under the sun.
Ten Years ago, SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang shelled out P100 million by way of sponsoring the training of athletes in 11 sports in the country’s overall victory of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
The amount took care of his build up of athlete in archery, athletics, baseball, boxing, dragon boat, karatedo, lawn bowling, muay, petanque and wrestling. Those sports accounted for 56 of the country’s total 113 gold-medal harvest for a high 49.56 percent.
SMC was also responsible for the country’s winning its fort gold medal in the University Games s few yers back courtesy of Super Grandmaster Wesley So.
The San Miguel Beermen’s recent triumph rising from a 0-3 grave to rule the local pro league’s most prestigious tournament enabled them to write their names in the world’s sports history, joining an elite eight-team club which accomplished the feat the past 74 years.
It, too, came as coach Leo Austria and his Beermen’s manifestation of the firm’s strict compliance to its log tradition of prestige that dates back from the late 19th century.
Before fashioning out the rare feat via a 96-89 thriller of a conquest of Alaska Milk Wednesday, only four teams had actually done the trick. No team ever, not even in the United States’ National Basketball Association succeeded in attaining the honor on the hardcourt.
The four previous times that a team succeeded erasing nothing-to-three deficit to win the crown happened in the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Liiga Hockey League in Finland and Russia’s Gagarin Cup.
The Toronto Maple Leafs emerged he first team to come from the ashes when it captured the 1942 Sanley Cup diadem, beating the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, in the finals.
It took 62 years later to again see a team matched that Maple Leafs’ record when the Boston Red Sox advanced into the World Series by foiling the New York Yankees, who roared to a 3-0 lead in he opening three games of their 2004 American League championship, showdown to bring home the bacon.
Completing the cast that succeeded bouncing back from the dead were KalPa of Finland and SKA St. Petersburg of Russia. KalPa upended the Blues in the finals playoff of the 2012 Finnish Liiga Hockey League while SKA Petersburg, likewise, vaulted back from nowhere to deny CSDA of Moscow to march triumphantly in the 2015 Gagarin Cup.
Three more sides had actually rebounded from the predicament of losing the first three games of a best-of-seven in non-title playoffs, all in the National Hockey League.
These were the New York Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semis and the Los Angeles Kings at the expense of the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference in the quarters, both also of Stanley Cup.
Three NBA teams were able to force a seventh game in a series after falling to a 0-3 hole, but lost in the title run. They were the New York Knicks in the 1951 finals versus the Rochester Royals, the Denver Nuggets against the Utah Jazz in the 1994 Western Conference semis, and the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the Western Conference Playoff.
For all winnings in the past, San Miguel looks it’s not done breaking records. Already possessing the winningest mark with 22 PBA championships, including rare Grandslam, there are more to conquer. And having won the firt tournament of this, the pro-league’s 41st season, another three-conference sweep is in the horizon.