MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel claimed basketball immortality after outlasting Magnolia, 72-71, in a winner-take-all Game 7 to seize the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup crown at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, May 15.
Seeking to become the first PBA team to win the All-Filipino crown for 5 straight seasons, the Beermen secured their legacy in thrilling fashion by digging themselves out of a 17-point hole.
Relatively quiet in the previous games, Alex Cabagnot saved his best for last as he scored 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 57.2 seconds left that gave San Miguel a league-leading 26th title in franchise history.
June Mar Fajardo was just as magnificent in the win after shattering the longest-standing PBA record set in the inaugural 1975 season by pulling down 31 rebounds to eclipse the 29-rebound mark made by Marcelo Simbulan.
Also finishing with 17 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks, the reigning five-time MVP clinched his third Finals MVP award with norms of 22.9 pts, 19.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
The Hotshots had plenty of chances to gain the upper hand only to witness Jio Jalalon miss back-to-back shots in the final minute.
Another opportunity was given for Magnolia as Fajardo missed both of his freebies with 4.8 seconds left, but with no timeouts left, Paul Lee failed to put up a shot after being bothered by Chris Ross and Arwind Santos.
Santos continued to be a steadying presence for the Beermen with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Ross chipped in 7 points and 8 rebounds in the lowest scoring game of the series.
Although both contained in Game 7, the victory was just as sweet for Terrence Romeo and Christian Standhardinger as they won their first PBA championship.
Kelly Nabong and Paul Zamar also bagged their maiden league title.
San Miguel, though, looked primed to see its dynasty end as it trailed 26-43 after being held to just 5 points in the 2nd period, which equalled the all-time lowest output in a PBA Finals quarter set by Alaska thrice.
But the Beermen slowly chiseled away at their deficit and eventually took a 62-61 lead off a Santos layup with less than 8 minutes remaining.
Magnolia regained the upper hand 5 times, but it just was not meant to be as Cabagnot drilled in an off-balanced fallaway jumper from the baseline for the bucket that settled the score.
Ian Sangalang chalked up 18 points and 6 rebounds for the Hotshots, who were denied their second straight championship since ruling the Governors’ Cup last year and 16th overall.
Lee had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals, Rafi Reavis added 11 points and 11 rebounds while Jalalon had 8 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in the losing effort.
San Miguel 72 – Cabagnot 18, Santos 17, Fajardo 17, Ross 7, Lassiter 5, Romeo 4, Standhardinger 4, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.
Magnolia 71 – Sangalang 18, Reavis 11, Lee 11, Jalalon 8, Barroca 7, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 3, Brondial 2, Herndon 0.
Quarters: 20-24, 25-38, 50-58, 72-71.