SAN Miguel Beer delivered the knockout punch that everyone was waiting for from Manny Pacquiao earlier in the day, outclassing TNT KaTropa on Sunday night to capture a PBA Commissioner’s Cup title that had eluded the squad for more than a decade.
The Beermen connected on the killer blows in Game Six of the Finals, turning what was expected to be a dogfight into a walk in the park on the way to an 115-91 victory that sent multicoloured balloons and confetti raining down from the rafters of the packed Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Alex Cabagnot registered a triple-double of 19 points, 12 boards, and 11 assists on top of three steals that capped a spectacular showing in the title series on the way to earning PBA Press Corps-Cignal Finals MVP honors after falling short in the Best Player of the Conference race.
The Beermen also turned to a perfect fit of an import in Charles Rhodes, who anchored their run throughout the conference, tallying 30 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists in the series clincher.
Unlike Pacquiao who fans haven’t seen knock out a foe since Miguel Cotto in 2009, the Beermen thus ended a 16-year title drought in midseason tournaments, which took a break from 2004 to 2010, as they captured their fifth championship in eight conferences and 24th overall.
The San Miguel Beermen found their way to their second straight title this season after edging out the TNT KaTropa in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 115-91 Game Six victory on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen displayed their might just after the first twelve minutes of action, building a double-digit 37-26 lead that even grew to a 20-point advantage, 62-42, at the end of the first half.
SMB was just too powerful and unstoppable in the game, as five of them produced a double-digit effort in scoring, with Alex Cabagnot shining the most after making history of being the first local player to notch a triple-double in the finals since 2005, or since Wille Miller recorded 24 points, 10 boards, and 10 steals in the 2005 All Filipino Cup championship.
The veteran guard, who earned the PBA Press Corps-Cignal Finals MVP trophy for averaging 20.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals after six games, tallied 19 markers, 12 rebounds, and 11 dimes to help SMB close out the series, 4-2.
June Mar Fajardo logged only 14 minutes and scored two points but had nothing to worry about as many guys delivered well. Charles Rhodes led the team with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and three assist, Marcio Lassiter sizzled for 24 points to go along with four dimes, while Arwind Santos and Chris Ross supplied 17 and 14 points, respectively.
The Beermen’s confidence was just so high that they shot 51% (43-of-84) from the field, including 41% or 12-of-29 from the rainbow country, while also milking more points from opponents’ turnovers, 30-22, and their own bench, 26-19.
The winningest franchise in the league will have the chance to sweep the season for their second Grand Slam feat when they challenge Barangay Ginebra and the ten other teams for the 2017 Governors’ Cup crown.
SAN MIGUEL 115 – Rhodes 30, Lassiter 24, Cabagnot 19, Santos 17, Ross 14, Espinas 5, Semerad 4, Fajardo 2, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Van Opstal 0, Agovida 0.
TNT 91 – Rosario 21, Pogoy 16, Smith 15, Castro 13, De Ocampo 7, Garcia 7, Williams 4, Tautuaa 4, Rosales 2, Semerad 2, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 37-26, 62-42, 94-69, 115-91.