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.
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.
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.
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.