San Miguel Beer completes historic comeback to win 2016 Philippine Cup The San Miguel Beermen survived a last-ditch attack by the Alaska Aces on Wednesday to win their second straight Philippine Cup, 96-89, in Game Seven of the championship series at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen became the first team in the history of the PBA to come back from a 0-3 hole to win a best-of-seven title series.”I think we’re luckier than them,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.”Both of us deserved to win a championship.”
Austria thanked San Miguel fans who packed the arena for giving the team strength to pull off the miracle comeback.The Beermen had to overcome a big fourth quarter scare from the Aces, who trimmed a 17-point deficit to just five midway through the final period.
In the end, San Miguel leaned on the heroics of Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, and June Mar Fajardo to keep their title, a PBA-best 22nd in franchise history. The dominant San Miguel squad has now won three of the last four championships in the PBA. Ross was named the Most Valuable Player of the finals series after scoring 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the deciding game.Two-time reigning PBA MVP Fajardo, who came back after missing the first four games of the series with a knee injury, also scored 21 points for San Miguel.
It was a crazy game from the get-go, with Alaska calling three full timeouts at the start of the game. The Beermen didn’t seem shaken by the apparent mind games, though, as they raced to an 18-8 lead in the first quarter.The Aces did enough to keep it close, with baskets from JVee Casio and Ping Exciminiano trimming the lead to just five at the half, 43-38.It was all San Miguel in the third period, as the Beermen outscored their opponents 25-13 for a comfortable lead.The Beermen looked poised for an easy win, leading by as much as 21 points at the 2:10 mark of the third quarter after an Arwind Santos trey, 68-47.But the Aces mounted a 23-7 run to slash the lead to just five with a 7:38 left in the game.A Fajardo basket and seven more points from Ross re-established a 12-point edge heading into the final three minutes. The Aces were able to cut to eight in the final minute, but insurance free throws from the Beermen put the game away.
SAN MIGUEL 96 – Fajardo 21, Ross 21, Lassiter 15, Santos 13, Cabagnot 8, De Ocampo 7, Tubid 7, Espinas 2, Lutz 2, Heruela 0.
ALASKA 89 – Banchero 21, Abueva 16, Baguio 10, Casio 8, Exciminiano 8, Hontiveros 6, Baclao 4, Jazul 4, Thoss 4, Dela Rosa 3, Manuel 3, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 0, Menk 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 43-38, 68-51, 96-89. (R. Fopalan, JST, gma)