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PBA: San Miguel brings home 29th title

by Bryan Gadingan

THE SAN Miguel Beermen won the Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday, defeating the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots, 104-102, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Beermen rallied from a 13-point disadvantage at the halftime break, eventually overcoming their opponents toward the end of the last canto for a thrilling finish.

San Miguel was trailing in the majority of the game. Magnolia’s lead grew to nine points in the first quarter but the Beermen responded with a Bennie Boatwright three-pointer and a Don Trollano jump shot.

The Beermen took the lead in the second quarter following a rare June Mar Fajardo shot from beyond the arc, followed by a three-pointer from Trollano himself, 33-31.

However, Jio Jalalon demonstrated his exceptional playmaking ability by tossing a kick out pass to import Tyler Bey, who hit a three, followed by a fastbreak drop pass to Paul Lee, giving the team the game’s largest lead of 13.

Just when the Hotshots felt they had complete control of the game (90-78), the Beermen released a spirited run to reclaim the lead. Jericho Cruz scored another clutch three-pointer, cutting the deficit to one, 97-98.

Bey split at the line, and Chris Ross’ 3-pointer with 1:27 remaining gave the Beermen a 100-99 advantage. Aris Dionisio, on the other end, hit a three-pointer right away to trim the lead to one with 25 seconds remaining.

The remainder of the game became a free-throw contest, with Magnolia attempting to prolong time. Dionisio attempted a halfcourt jumper before the final buzzer in hopes of clinching a stunning victory, but was unsuccessful.

CJ Perez was awarded Finals MVP after leading the Beermen to a playoff career-high 28 points in Game 6 on nine-of-15 field goal attempts. Perez struggled in the first half, scoring only four points.

Despite this, Perez led the comeback, averaging 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3.2 steals over six games.

Fajardo backed the guard’s excellent effort with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Boatwright fell just short of a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists.

Lee, who marked his 35th birthday, scored 25 points in a losing effort, while Bey added 18 points and eight rebounds.

Magnolia was unable to extend the series to a rubber match and had to settle for another runner-up title, their fourth under coach Chito Victolero. Meanwhile, San Miguel won their 29th league title.



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