San Miguel reclaims Philippine Cup title after crushing TNT

SMB’s big three are once again kings of the league. (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The San Miguel Beermen are once again kings of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup after trouncing the TNT Tropang Giga in the winner-take-all Game 7 of their championship finals series, 119-97.

After three heartbreaking years, the Beermen are finally back at the mountain top of the All-Filipino conference.

Known for its dominance in the Philippine Cup, San Miguel broke its championship streak from 2015-2019 when superstar June Mar Fajardo broke his tibia.

Now with Fajardo healthy, it is no coincidence that the San Miguel Beermen are once again champions.

It wasn’t a walk in the park as the Tropang Giga squad fought with their all despite the absence of head coach Chot Reyes who had to sit out due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

Aside from Reyes’ absence, TNT’s energy guy and versatile power forward Glenn Khobuntin was also ruled out of the series after suffering a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury.

TNT banked on Jayson Castro’s heroics in the third quarter after the squad erased San Miguel’s double-digit lead which they established at the end of the second quarter.

Mikey Williams was also a man on a mission as the scoring machine complemented Castro after draining big bombs that helped TNT clinch a five-point lead heading into the final canto, 84-89.

However, in just a blink of an eye, San Miguel smelled blood and turned berserk mode after stunning the Tropang Giga with a massive 35-5 start in the fourth quarter.

TNT’s lead quickly evaporated and saw a more determined San Miguel team balloon their lead to double digits after a CJ Perez three-point shot with 7:52 remaining.

San Miguel continued to pour in the attack and turned to their ever-reliable duo of Chris Ross and Fajardo who took over the game in style.

Ross, San Miguel’s heart and soul since the old death five era with Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos, turned back the hands of time and went unconscious after making it rain from downtown.

Six-time MVP Fajardo then sealed the deal and put the icing on the cake after imposing his will in the shaded area that kept their double-digit lead until the buzzer sounded.

Perez led all SMB scorers with 25 big points followed by Fajardo’s 19, Vic Manuel’s 16, and Marcio Lassiter’s 15 points.