“Beer-acle” complete. History made.
San Miguel Beer essayed the biggest comeback in PBA finals history, completing its battle from a 0-3 deficit by outlasting Alaska, 96-89, in Game 7 of the Philippine Cup championship Wednesday night at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
The Aces tried to throw the Beermen off-balance from the get-go, calling 3 straight timeouts to open the game.
But coach Leo Austria and his wards would have none of it, as they went on a 10-0 burst to take control early at 15-8.
And while Alaska stuck with the Beermen in the opening half, the Aces had no answer when the defending champions uncorked a backbreaking 16-4 run behind June Mar Fajardo to make it 59-42.
Calvin Abueva cut it to 59-46, before a 9-1 San Miguel blitz off back-to-back Fajardo baskets, a reverse by Chris Ross and a banked-in triple by Arwind Santos with 2:10 left in the 3rd period gave the Beermen a 68-47 lead.
Not giving up and using tenacious defense, Chris Banchero and the Aces went on a 17-5 run to start the fourth and cut the lead to 75-68, forcing Austria to call for time.
San Miguel, however, came out of the break to commit two straight turnovers — their 25th and 26th of the game — as Alaska trimmed it further, 75-70.
Fajardo and Noy Baclao traded baskets, before Santos drilled a big three to make it 80-72 with a little under 6 minutes remaining.
Ross then played the hero’s role once more, going on a personal 7-3 run to give the Beermen an 87-75 advantage with over 3 minutes left on the clock.
That cushion proved to be enough for San Miguel, who had to climb from 13 points down in the 4th period of Game 4 to set the stage for the historic fightback.