Monday Sep, 23 2019 09:10:41 PM

San Miguel completes tough journey back to the top

SPORTS • 07:00 AM Sat Aug 17, 2019
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By: 
www.pba.ph
Courtesy: PBA images

San Miguel Beer sustained the fire of its winning fourth-quarter rally in Game Five, outplaying, outworking and outfoxing TNT KaTropa to capture the PBA Commissioner's Cup crown via a 102-90 win Friday before a big crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

What they did well the last time they did even better as the Beermen put the KaTropa away and pulled one of the sweetest championships in franchise history. 

The Beermen made it back-to-back from their Philippine Cup title conquest. And the grand slam now beckons.

"Nakuha na namin yung second part. Isa na lang," said Robert Non, SMB's representative to the PBA board.

Chris McCullough followed up a 35-point game with another 35-point job and the key SMB locals did their part as they completed their arduous rise to the summit from a mere seventh-ranking in the post-elims play.

A mid-tournament acquisition, McCullough proved to be a big savior, with Christian Standhardinger turning to be a big revelation with his defensive job on Terrence Jones in Games Five and Six.

SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua acknowledged the effort of Standhardinger on national TV during the awards rites.

But the Finals MVP award went to Terrence Romeo who averaged 14 points, 4.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds.

Limiting Jones and the KaTropa to their lowest output in a game in the series, the Beermen pulled through in the emotional championship, and bagged their eighth title in 14 conferences and 27th overall. 

"Na-overcome namin yung tough struggle," said June Mar Fajardo, who best described their tough journey from a 2-5 start in the elims.

It became a little easier for the Beermen on KaTropa's offensive struggle in Game Six.

But it's not lost on SMB coach Leo Austria the tough showing of the KaTropa all tournament long.

"They brought the best out of our guys. We never thought we would make the finals at the start of the conference. We're fortunate to win the championship," said Austria. 

With better shooting, the Beermen raced to a 14-point spread and took the half at 45-35.

The KaTropa struggled badly offensively, making just four of 25 three-pointers with Troy Rosario going 1-of-7 and Jayson Castro 1-of-5.

The Beermen drained 4-of-12 three-pointers and were far better with a 16-of-42 overall clip as against TNT's 14-of-48.

As the KaTropa continued to throw bricks, the Beermen capitalized, stretching their lead to 19 before Castro rallied TNT to within 11, 63-74, at the end of the third. (SB)

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