San Miguel Beer survived the pressure of another impending collapse in the fourth quarter to escape a breathtaking 80-78 victory against hard-fighting Alaska in deciding Game 7 and won the PBA Philippine Cup title at the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen squandered a 23-point lead but this time recovered in the nick of time to foil the Aces’ scorching defense to win their 20th conference title.
Arwind Santos hit a three-pointer that put back the lead to the Beermen, 79-78, with 48.7 seconds left and then a free throw to set the final count.
After erasing a halftime 25-48 deficit, the Aces finally took the upper hand, 74-68, via an 11-0 blast spearheaded by Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio.
But Chris Lutz and Ronald Tubid teamed up with main man June Mar Fajardo to the lead the Beermen’ strong stand that gave them first All-Filipino Cup title in the last 12 conferences.
Santos led the Beermen with 22 points while Fajardo added 21 points and Tubid and Lutz shared 12 and 10 points each.
”This is unbelievable. I know from the start, it’s very hard to beat Alaska. I want to congratulate coach Alex (Compton) for a job well done. Our defense worked in the end,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, who won his first title as head coach.
The Aces had a chance to salvage the game and their first title under Compton but Jayvee Casio missed a three-point shot at the buzzer.
Abueva tallied 23 points and 15 rebounds while Sonny Thoss added 15 points for the Aces.
SAN MIGUEL 80 – Santos 22, Fajardo 21, Tubid 12, Lutz 10, Cabagnot 10, Lassiter 5, Maierhofer 0, Ross 0, Kramer 0, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Fortuna 0, Semerad 0, Chua 0.
ALASKA 78 – Abueva 23, Thoss 15, Baguio 11, Casio 7, Banchero 6, Manuel 4, Hontiveros 4, Jazul 4, Exciminiano 2, Menk 2, Eman 0, Dela Rosa 0, Dela Cruz 0, Espinas 0.
Quarterscores: 21-12, 48-27, 62-59, 80-78. PNA