MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel reclaimed the PBA Commissioner's Cup throne with a convincing 102-90 victory over TNT in Game 6 of the finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, August 16.
Down 1-2 in the best-of-seven series, the Beermen displayed the championship pedigree they have been known throughout the years by seizing the next 3 games for their second straight title and 27th overall in franchise history.
Defying great odds had been the theme for San Miguel throughout the conference, barely reaching the playoffs after ending the elimination round at 7th place following a horrendous 2-5 start.
In Game 5 of the finals, the Beermen were buried by as many as 16 points before staging a fightback for the ages to take the series lead for the first time.
But in the closeout Game 6, San Miguel did not need to pull off another comeback as it led by as large as 19 points behind Chris McCullough, June Mar Fajardo, and Christian Standhardinger and never looked back.
McCullough finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks, Fajardo chalked up 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Standhardinger delivered 18 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.
Finals MVP Terrence Romeo added 10 points and 7 rebounds as Chris Ross had 7 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and knocked down the triple that gave the Beermen a 63-44 lead – their biggest of the game.
The KaTropa, though, still put up a fight and even managed to trim their deficit to single digit, 65-74, early in the payoff period off a Terrence Jones dunk.
But San Miguel – already learning from its past mistakes of repeatedly blowing huge leads – kept its poise and erected a 7-2 blitz to restore order on the way to becoming the lowest seed in PBA history to win a title.
Jones put TNT behind his back anew with 41 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, but not even his herculean performance was enough for his side to force a winner-take-all match.
Jayson Castro added 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in the loss, while Roger Pogoy put up 13 points and 5 rebounds as the KaTropa remained without a crown for the 12th straight conference.
San Miguel 102 – McCullough 35, Fajardo 19, Standhardinger 18, Cabagnot 10, Romeo 10, Ross 7, Pessumal 4, Santos 0.
TNT 90 – Jones 41, Castro 16, Pogoy 13, Rosario 8, Heruela 6, Taha 4, Trollano 2, Washington 0, Reyes 0, D. Semerad 0, Casiño 0.
Quarters: 26-19, 45-35, 74-63, 102-90.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.