Sister teams San Miguel Beer and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok will be assaulting the record books when they battle starting today for the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots, for one, will be eyeing for the sixth All-Filipino crown for the Purefoods Corp. franchise, the most by any team, and prove to all and sundry they’re still the best squad in the archipelago with an all natural-born talent in their line up.
Hotshots coach Chito Victolero will be trying to duplicate the late Purefoods bench tactician Ely Capacio’s feat of winning the All-Flipino in his first try.
The Beermen, of course, will be aiming to tie their sister team’s six Philippine Cup title conquest and, more importantly, emerge as the first team in the 41-year history of the All-Filipino to win the diadem four consecutive seasons.
The All-Filipino concept of this particular conference was introduced in 1977, three years after the founding of the Philippines’ and Asia’s first play-for-pay in 1975.
San Miguel benchman Leo Austria, the architect of the Beermen’s third straight title triumph, will be eyeing for his fourth in a tie with Norman Black, a former SMB mentor himself now with Meralco.
Austria’s three Philippine cup victories was actually the third best by a coach behind the late “Maestro” Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan’s six and now Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone’s and Chot Reyes’ five each.
Dalupan’s first three title were won while manning the bench of legendary Crispa, two with Great Taste and one with the Tender Juicy Hotdogs.
Besides Capacio’s title win in 1991, Purefoods, likewise, was All-Filipino champion in 1993 (Coney Island) under Reyes, 1997 under Eric Altamirano, 2005 and 2010 under Ryan Gregorio and 2014 (San Mig Coffee) under Cone.
Before winning the 1991 plum, Purefoods was also runner up three straight years from 1988 to 1990, 1992 2000 and 20008.
This is the fourth time that San Miguel and Purefoods are facing each other for all the marbles in the All-Filipino with the Beermen prevailing in 1989, 1992 and 1994 (Coney Island).
The two teams met anew in 1993 with Coney Island winning the championship carrying the banner Coney Island.
That was the first in the only three times that the Beermen lost in the Philippine Cup finals. The other two was in 2006 when they bowed to the Gin Kings and in 2011 when Talk ‘N Text started its three consecutive title triumph.