All heart: Beermen rally from 23 down, bag PBA Philippine Cup title with 2OT win
When backed into a corner, San Miguel showed exactly why it’s the most dominant team in the league today.
The Beermen came back from 23 points down in regulation and outlasted Magnolia, 108-99, in a grueling double overtime duel to seal their fourth straight PBA Philippine Cup championship Friday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
— Bong Lozada (@BLozadaINQ) April 6, 2018
June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross gave San Miguel a 99-94 start in the second OT and that was all San Miguel needed to finally break away en route to their sixth title in four years under coach Leo Austria.
Fajardo, who was named the Best Player of the Conference and the Finals MVP, showed tremendous heart in the clincher, finishing with a monstrous line of 42 points and 20 rebounds in 54 minutes of action.
Arwind Santos added 23 points, none bigger than his triple with 16 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime, and hauled down 11 boards.
“The players didn’t give up and when we caught up the players realized that this is possible,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria who is undefeated in his six finals appearances. “This one is for us.”
“I told them that this built their character, the winning attitude, and now they have the heart of a champion that they won’t lose that easily,” added Austria in Filipino.
Marcio Lassiter and Ross chipped in 16 points and 13 points, respectively, while both playing for more than 50 minutes while Alex Cabagnot, whose steal and layup with 52 ticks left in 2OT proved to be the dagger, had seven points.
The Beermen nabbed their 25th overall title and remained undefeated under Austria, who has steered the Beermen to the championship in all his six tries.
Paul Lee had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Hotshots while Rome dela Rosa had 19 points and seven rebounds.
Despite their disadvantage in personnel, the Hotshots never backed down, managing to figure out how to slow down the Beermen in the last two games.
Neither team gave an inch in the first overtime, with Magnolia even holding the lead in the last 1:37 minutes after Rome Dela Rosa’s three-pointer.
But Magnolia simply lost steam after Fajardo tied the match at 94 and extended the game anew as Magnolia only scored five points in the last five minutes, all courtesy of Aldrech Ramos, who added eight points in 10 minutes of action.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.