July 02, 2017

Beermen claim PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship

San Miguel Beer came out in its Sunday best and was a team in a hurry, pulling away early en route to a 115-91 blasting of the TNT KaTropa to claim the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship before a crowd of over 10,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.

The Beermen flattened the Ka Tropa right in the early goings on a vicious start, and played relentlessly and ruthlessly all throughout for the emphatic victory that sealed their 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven series.

A dominant team in the last three years, San Miguel nailed a follow-up on its all-Filipino title run and thus stayed on course for a grand slam – a feat last achieved in the league in 2014 by San Mig Coffee (now Star).

San Miguel, which has had its own grand slam in 1989 behind a team led by Ramon Fernandez, Ricky Brown, Samboy Lim and Hector Calma, improved its legacy with a 24th crown, five of those won by coach Leo Austria and his troops in the last eight conferences.

Alex Cabagnot delivered the first triple-double performance by any player in a finale in the last 12 years with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He bagged the PBA Press Corps Cignal Finals MVP award.

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Charles Rhodes, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and Chris Ross also played big as the Beermen asserted themselves as a dominant champion team and annexed a first Commissioner’s Cup crown in 16 years.

They foiled the Ka Tropa’s own title ambition in six games, pulling off earlier wins in Game Two, 102-88, in Game Three, 109-97, and in Game Five, 111-102.

A perfect chemistry among the SMB ace locals and Rhodes keyed SMB’s success on where it failed in the last two years.

As the all-Filipino champs in 2015 and 2016, the Beermen missed a back-to-back feat in landing the wrong import then.

Rhodes proved to be tailor-made for the Beermen in a title run marked by a solid 17-5 win-loss slate. They never dropped back-to-back losses in the tourney.

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