|The San Miguel Beermen stepped on the podium anew, this time raising the elusive Commissioner's Cup trophy for their 24th PBA title in franchise history.|
By Patrick Sutare
QUEZON CITY--The 16-year mid-season title drought finally came to an end for San Miguel.
The Beermen continue to justify their tag as the gauge of the league after finishing off TNT in Game Six of the PBA Commssioner's Cup Finals, 115-91, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bagging the series clincher, the powerhouse dynasty not only ended its Comm's Cup dry spell but also keeps its hunt for a rare Grand Slam feat alive as it also captured the Philippine Cup over Ginebra--the title that earned them the Perpetual plum.
[Related Story: SMB claims Bernardino Trophy after completing PH Cup three-peat at expense of Ginebra]
Charles Rhodes wound up 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks. Marcio Lassiter exploded for 24 markers, hitting five triples along with five rebounds and four dimes.
Alex Cabagnot, who earned the Finals MVP recognition, notched a triple-double of 19 points, 12 boards and 11 assists. Arwind Santos added 17 points while Chris Ross scattered 14.
Not wanting to put the elusive title in jeopardy in a deciding Game Seven, the stacked Beermen squad immediately rode on its lethal guns to do damage and leave the KaTropa in the dust as early as the first half.
Four of its players already broke into double-digits after just the first 24 minutes of play, led by Rhodes who hoisted 20 and Santos with 15. The other two were Lassiter and Cabagnot with 10 each.
The Beermen seized separation midway through the first period where a scuffle between twins Anthony and David Semerad seemed to spark the crippling onslaught that left TNT out for good.
It was 16-15 for the KaTropa before tensions flared with less than six minutes remaining in the opening period involving the Semerads.
As it turned out, that was the last time the eventual victors stared at a deficit as they never trailed since launching a 22-10 spurt that ended the period with them holding a 37-26 buffer.
SMB was undoubtedly on a mission to end the series as it bucked yet another sub-par showing from Junemar Fajardo who scored just two points in 14 minutes after being saddled with early foul trouble anew.
Troy Rosario paced the KaTropa with 21 points and five boards as RR Pogoy cashed in 16 in almost 31 minutes.
Joshua Smith and Jayson Castro were rather held silent in their final game of the tourney. The hulking import scored 15 but hauled just six rebounds while Castro accounted for 13 markers negated by six turnovers.
Overall, TNT turned the ball over nine times more than SMB, 21-12, which translated to 30 points for the latter.
Head coach Leo Austria remains undefeated in all of his PBA Finals stints as San Miguel chalked up its 24th title in franchise history.
San Miguel 115–Rhodes 30, Lassiter 24, Cabagnot 19, Santos 17, Ross 14, Espinas 5, Semerad 4, Fajardo 2, De Ocampo 0, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Van Opstal 0, Agovida 0
TNT 91–Rosario 21, Pogoy 16, Smith 15, Castro 13, De Ocampo 7, Garcia 7, Williams 4, Tautuaa 4, Rosales 2, Semerad 2, Reyes 0
Quarterscores: 37-26, 62-42, 94-69, 115-91
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