SMB retains PBA PH Cup title after comeback win vs Magnolia in decider

SMB retains PBA PH Cup title after comeback win vs Magnolia in decider

The San Miguel Beermen hoist the Perpetual Trophy after once again winning the PBA Philippine Cup championship. Dennis Acosta

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--The dynasty continues.

San Miguel stays as the PBA Philippine Cup champion after subduing Magnolia, 72-71, in the final game of the best-of-seven finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Alex Cabagnot's fallaway jumper with 57.2 seconds left turned out to be enough as the Beermen completed a comeback from 17 points down to stun the Hotshots, who seemed poised for a blowout after a bad start.

SMB started with a 7-0 run behind an Arwind Santos triple and back-to-back layups by Junemar Fajardo.

But Magnolia quickly responded and ended the first quarter with a 24-20 lead.

The team then shut SMB down in the second quarter, holding its opponent to just five points before eventually opening a 43-26 lead early into the third on five straight points from Mark Barroca.

The Beermen slowly recovered and eventually regained the lead, 63-62, on a Santos layup with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter.

Both teams then engaged in an exchange of deuces, which ended when Cabagnot went to the right corner and drilled in a mid-range jumper for the eventual final tally.

Ian Sangalang had a chance to put the Hotshots back up, but he missed a close-range attempt with 37 seconds left.

Jio Jalalon then tried his luck, but his own lay-in also rimmed out, and Fajardo grabbed the rebound to preserve the possession for SMB with 18.1 seconds left.

However, Marcio Lassiter failed to get hold of the inbound pass, giving Magnolia another chance to steal the win with 17 seconds remaining.

Jalalon, however, badly missed another layup attempt, and Fajardo once again got the board before getting fouled with 4.8 seconds to go.

Fajardo still gave the Hotshots another crack at the win when he missed two free throws, but his teammates ganged up on Paul Lee, who failed to put up a shot attempt as time ran out.

Cabagnot led SMB, which has now won five consecutive Philippine Cup titles, with 18 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Santos added 17 points, 11 rebounds, and one block.

Fajardo also had 17 markers while he set a new all-time league record in rebounds for a local with 31 caroms alongside one assist, two blocks, and two steals.

Sangalang had 18 points, six rebounds, one block, and one steal for Magnolia, which failed in its bid to go back-to-back titles.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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