Former PBA Philippine Cup five-peat champ San Miguel Beer is back on the throne, stretching its unprecedented mark as winner of the league’s crown jewel to 10 times.
The Beermen reclaimed the all-Filipino diadem as June Mar Fajardo and his teammates beat the TNT Tropang Giga, 119-97, in a winner-take-all Game 7 before a 15,195-strong raucous crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo and the other SMB top guns ripped TNT apart on a fourth-quarter ambush, thus, crushing the Tropa’s title-retention aspiration and marking their return as champs behind the so-called Death Squad II.
The Death Five of Fajardo, CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and Vic Manuel themselves made the lethal execution, teaming up in a roaring 17-0 start in the fourth that paved the way for a drive all the way to the championship.
Fajardo collected 19 points, 18 rebounds and five assists and won the Finals MVP award that went with the Best Player of the Conference trophy he snared earlier.
Perez top scored for the team with 25, with Manuel adding 16, Lassiter 15 and Ross 12. The team also drew double-digit outputs from Moala Tautuaa (13) and Simon Enciso (12) in this decider.
Perez and Manuel were thankful and joyful as they finally tasted a first PBA championship.
For the franchise, it’s the 10th in the all-Filipino and 28th overall in their ever-growing championship collections as the league’s winningest team.