The just-concluded Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup title series provided fans with numerous “hero moments.”
From Arwind Santos breaking out of his shooting slump, to the surprise return of June Mar Fajardo from injury, along with the defensive brilliance of Chris Ross on the way to being named the Finals MVP, it was a championship round plush with moments of brilliance.
All these contributed to San Miguel’s magnificent and historic comeback from a 0-3 Finals deficit, capping it with a 96-89 win over Alaska in Game 7 Wednesday night before a jampacked crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Alfrancis Chua, who currently holds the position of Barangay Ginebra’s board governor and sports director of San Miguel Corp., however, pointed the credit back to SMC’s big boss Ramon S. Ang.
The pony-tailed coach-turned-team-executive said it was actually Ang who told him the Beermen will win the series, just shortly after San Miguel lost for the 3rd straight time in the Finals.
“We were down 0-3 and everybody’s down. Everybody’s losing hope and there was only one guy who told us we could win the championship. That’s my boss, boss RSA, he said, ‘Al, we’ll win the championship,” Chua told FOX Sports in Filipino on Thursday.
The outspoken Chua said while everyone doubted if they could beat the Aces, who were dominant during the 1st 3 games of the series, Ang was the lone positive voice that reminded them they can still turn things around.
Chua said the San Miguel team owner didn’t just give the Beermen lip service, but he would even go as far as moving some of his schedules in business just to be able to talk to each of the players and remind them of the big picture.
“I know he’s very happy. The players and fans are very happy. But it would be great to thank boss RSA, who motivated the players by hosting dinner for them and telling them to visit him at his office,” he said.
“He’s been doing that consistently in the Finals. He’s got a very busy schedule because he has a lot of meetings but he would make time for the team.”
The SMC team executive felt Ang’s positive approach to the seemingly lost cause in the championship series was simply an application of his “war tactics” in business.
“He knows how to win. His gut feel was amazing. He would talk to each and everyone of the player before Game 7, and even before Game 5 and 6 and he was telling them, ‘we’ll win the championship,” Chua recalled.
With such motivation from the San Miguel boss himself, the Beermen made their move, summoning the courage needed to overcome a deficit that no team in league history has ever accomplished.
“Nobody would ever believe we could come back from a 0-3 deficit. I was telling him, ‘Boss, no team has ever done that ever, even in other leagues around the world.’ But he replied, ‘then let’s make history.’”
And the Beermen did, capturing the franchise’s 22nd league championship in the process while moving San Miguel into a tie at the top with sister team Star Hotshots with 6 all-Filipino titles. — By Richard Dy