San Miguel sweeps Alaska for 21st PBA championship

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – One huge confidence-killing, momentum-shifting third quarter was the last push the San Miguel Beermen needed to sweep the Alaska Aces, 91-81, and win the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup championship on Friday, July 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

It is the Beermen’s 21st title and second of the PBA’s 40th season after winning the Philippine Cup, also against the Aces.

Relentless in the pursuit for his first PBA crown, import Arizona Reid sparked San Miguel in the third quarter as they outscored Alaska, 33-16, to erase the Aces’ 14-point lead nearing the end of the first half. 

It was the biggest lead of the series for the powerless Alaska, who dropped game 1 by 30 points and crumbled in the endgames of the next two Finals outings.

Reid had the hot hand with 6 triples to post a game-high 33 points, including 16 in that pivotal third quarter, to go with his all-around performance of 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block.

"I finally got one," said the two-time Best Import Reid during the broadcast interview, sounding immensely relieved and fulfilled as he fulfilled his promise to San Miguel this season. "It took me 4 years. It’s a great feeling. I want to thank SMB. Without them I wouldn’t have made it. It’s a great feeling."

Reid put up monster numbers in the series, norming 37 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists entering game 4.

A Reid floater over this conference’s Best Import Romeo Travis brought the Beermen to within two midway in the third. With fire raging in his eyes, Reid followed that up with a three-pointer from the right wing 13 seconds later to take the lead and the momentum, 58-57. 

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Alaska, which appeared dead set on living up to their newly-acquired “No Quit Squad” monicker this season, stayed in the game for a few more minutes before their body language shifted as the hope of getting at least one win was sucked out of them. 

Newly crowned back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo made his mark in the game with 19 points, with 10 coming in the fourth to keep Alaska at bay, on top of 21 rebounds, an assist, 3 steals and two blocks.

Fajardo added one more trophy to his trophy haul, which totaled 5, as he bagged Finals MVP honors.

San Miguel Beermen's June Mar Fajardo is your 2015 PBA Governors' Cup Finals MVP! http://t.co/5ViFjTFELt pic.twitter.com/D7KywL2wyb — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) July 17, 2015

Marksman Marcio Lassiter added 12 markers, 5 boards, a steal and two rejections as he poured 9 points in the third as well, highlighted by a triple that put San Miguel on top by 5 nearing the end of that frame.

Fajardo connected on a tough pull-up near the post as he shrugged off a flagrant foul penalty 1 call late in the second period just after he also took home the Sportsmanship Award. 

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Reid pounded the nail deeper into Alaska’s coffin with a massive triple that pushed San Miguel’s lead to an irreversible 81-65 with 8:10 remaining, as the loud Beermen crowd went into frenzy.

Calvin Abueva tried to keep the Aces alive with his 22 points, 17 rebounds and 3 assists as Travis added 15 markers and 7 boards.

Sonny Thoss chipped in 13 points and 4 rebounds.

The two teams squared off in a grueling 7-game series in the Philippine Cup, which is a far cry from these Finals owing to San Miguel's loaded line-up.

Scores:

San Miguel (91): Reid 33, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 12, Espinas 8, Santos 6, Cabagnot 5, Ross 3, Lutz 2, Tubid 0.

Alaska (81): Abueva 22, Travis 15, Thoss 13, Baguio 7, Exciminiano 7, Casio 5, Menk 4, Banchero 3, Jazul 3, Dela Rosa 2, Manuel 0, Hontiveros 0.

Quarter scores: 18-17, 37-49, 70-65, 91-81. 
– Rappler.com