MANILA – After 14 long years, finally San Miguel Beer gets to taste the sweet taste of victory after defeating the Alaska Aces in a do-or-die battle, 80-78, and bagging the PBA championship cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen led by as much as 23, however it was cut down by the persistent Aces. Fortunately, the Beermen found their way out of trouble to finish the game and capture their 20th title – the most in the league.
“I would like to congratulate the entire Alaska team,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria, who steered his team towards the crown in his first conference.
He added, “This is unbelievable.”
The new finals MVP Arwin Santos gave 22 points, including the last crucial points for the Beermen that gave back their lead. 79-78 with 43.7 seconds left on the clock. He also had 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Fellow Beermen and Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo got the game going for his team early with his 15 points and 12 rebounds all in the first half. He finished the game with a double performance, 21 points and 25 rebounds – the first recorded 20-20 performance in the Finals.
Calvin Abueva of the Aces tried to carry his team after leading the third quarter. Alongside him is rookie Chris Banchero. While JVee Casio had the last chance to give his team, but his 3-point attempt was not successful.