San Miguel Beer, for one last time, flexed its depth and wore down a shorthanded and Chot Reyes-less TNT to come away with a 119-97 victory in Game 7 to claim the Philippine Cup crown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday, Sept. 4.

June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel tries to score against TNT’s Poy Erram and Kelly Williams during Game 7 of the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven Finals on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Noel Pabalate)

After enduring a huge third-quarter onslaught from the Tropang Giga that erased an 11-point first half lead, the Beermen turned their offense and defense to a higher gear in the payoff period and unloaded a back-breaking 24-5 run en route to the team’s 10th all-Filipino conference title.

Down by five, 89-84, two of the best players in the conference in June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez took turns in punishing a seemingly gassed out Tropang Giga who could only muster eight points in the final frame.

Seven players scored in double-digits for the Beermen with Perez dropping 25 points, seven assists and four rebounds in his first Game 7 of his career. Fajardo, who was adjudged as the Finals MVP, posted a double-double effort of 19 points and 18 rebound.

Marcio Lassiter and Vic Manuel added 15 and 16 points respectively while Mo Tautuaa chipped in 13. Chris Ross and Simon Enciso were the other Beermen in double-digits with 12 points apiece.

Banged up and all, Jayson Castro tried to carry the fight for the Tropang Giga with 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Mikey Williams added 22 — all of which were not enough to prevent the Tropang Giga from blowing a 3-2 series lead.

The Beermen went on a huge 19-2 tear in the second quarter and turned a 47-42 deficit into a 61-49 lead with 2:43 left in the first half. It also didn’t help that TNT also lost its stabilizer and the veteran presence in Castro after re-hurting his sprained ankle in the middle of that blistering run from SMB.

Things went from bad to worse as the Tropang Giga, already without Glenn Khobuntin, lost another player after JP Erram hit the showers early after being assessed with a flagrant foul penalty 2 after a hard hit that left a cut on Mo Tautuaa’s head.

The Tropang Giga, despite trailing by double digits in the first half, exploded for 34 points in the third frame, 19 coming from Castro to take a 89-84 lead heading into the final frame. That, however, proved to be the final stand from the defending champions as they simply had no answer to the SMB juggernaut.

Source: Manila Bulletin (