After 34 long years, the PBA may finally hail a new all-Filipino four-peat champ.
"Hindi na ako makapaghintay mag-celebrate. Masarap 'yan," said SMB ace forward Arwind Santos, looking forward to celebrating what could well be only the third four-peat in the league.
San Miguel Beer seeks to match the Crispa Redmanizers' four straight all-Filipino championships in the early years of the league as June Mar Fajardo and his teammates go for the jugular against the embattled Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in Game Five of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Friday.
SMB coach Leo Austria has proclaimed they're already smelling the scent of championship, optimistic of completing a conquest of the Hotshots to extend their all-Filipino reign to a fourth straight year.
No other team outside of Crispa has won the league's premier tourney four in a row.
The Redmanizers reigned supreme in 1979, 1980, 1983 and 1984. There was no all-Filipino tourney in 1981 and 1982 as the league instead held then the Reinforced Filipino with Crispa winning the first one, then Toyota taking the second one.
From 1994-1997, Alaska Milk had its own four-year reign in the Governors Cup.
"We're smelling the championship. I'm sure my players will be different players come Friday. I hope ma-sustain nila yung energy nila at talagang ipakita ang pagnanasa to get the fourth crown," said Austria.
The SMB mentor, however, cautions his team not to get ahead of themselves.
"Meron pa silang natitirang hininga. At 3-1 (down), anything is possible. Alam n'yo naman ang pinagdaanan namin.
In the next game, we should have a good start," said Austria, not discounting anything as he recalled their miracle fightback from 0-3 down versus Alaska Milk in the 2016 Finals.
"Their back is against the wall. Pero alam natin na ang isang tao pag nasasaktan, ilalabas ang lahat to defend himself. I'm sure they will come out really hard and prepared the next game. Good thing, they only have one day to prepare, and it's really hard," Austria added.
Magnolia faces a giant task of winning three in a row to stop San Miguel from rewriting history and nailing a 25th title overall.
Hotshots coach Chito Victolero is promising one thing - no giving up.
"We'll find way. Hindi kami titigil," he said. "They need another win to get the championship. Yun ang positibo, hindi pa tapos ang series. Mabigat ang 3-1 lead nila, pero walang imposible."(SB}