SMB San Miguel Beer players and officials celebrate. PBA photo

Mission accomplished for San Miguel

September 5, 2022 Robert Andaya 495 views

MISSION accomplished for San Miguel Beer and coach Leo Austria.

First, the June Mar Fajardo-led Beermen ended three years of disappointments by reclaiming the PBA championship following a convincing 119-97 win over TNT in Game 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Second, the multi-titled San Miguel Corp. franchise captured its 10th PBA All-Filipino championship and 28th overall — the most in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

Third, the Beermen won for the fourth straight time in Game 7s in title playoffs under Austria.

And fourth, Austria finally joined the late great Crispa coach Baby Dalupan and TNT coach Chot Reyes with the most All-Filipino titles with six.

“Salamat sa mga players ko.. Ginawa na naman ninyo akong mukhang magaling na coach,” said Austria in his victory speech.

“Mission accomplished tayo,” added Austria, who credited SMC head Ramon S. Ang, Governor Robert Non, sports director Alfrancis Chua, team manager Gie Abanilla and his coaching staff of Renato Agustin, Boyzie Zamar, Peter Martin, Biboy Ravanes, Jorge Gallent and Dayong Mendoza and the players and the fans for the victory.

San Miguel wrapped up the best-of-seven championship series, 4-3.

The Beermen also dominated Game 2 (109-100), Game 3 (108-100) and Game 6 (114-96).

And while the series went the full distance, the Beermen left no doubt as to who are the better team.

Down 84-89 to the undermanned but hard-fighting Tropang Giga after three quarters, the Beermen went for the kill by scoring 17 unanswered points at the start of the fourth period to take control.

The Beermen never looked back from there.

San Miguel had plenty of outstanding individual performances to the delight of a pre-dominantly SMB fan base in the 15,195-strong crowd.

Former Lyceum of the Philippines standout CJ Perez topscored with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting on top of seven assists and four rebounds.

Fajardo, who bagged both the Best Player of the Conference award and the Finals MVP trophy, had another Kraken-like performance with 19 points, 18 rebounds and five assists.

Vic Manuel added 16 points and seven rebounds, Marcio Lassiter contributed 15 points, five rebounds and three assists and Moala Tautuaa had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Chris Ross and Simon Enciso also added 12 points apiece.

Jayson Castro led TNT with 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists despite playing through injury for TNT, which played minus head coach Chot Reyes due to health and safety protocols.

Mikey Williams added 22 points, including 17 points in the opening half, while Roger Pogoy contributed 16.

JP had seven points before being ejected on a flagrant foul penalty 2 late in the second quarter.

The scores:

San Miguel Beer (119) – Perez 25, Fajardo 19, Manuel 16, Lassiter 15, Tautuaa 13, Ross 12, Enciso 12, Cruz 4, Brondial 3, Faundo 0, Zamar 0, Pessumal 0, Canete 0.
TNT (97) – Castro 32, M.Williams 22, Pogoy 16, Rosario 11, Erram 7, K.Williams 6, Marcelo 3, Montalbo 0, Alejandro 0, Ganuelas- Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 29-31, 66-55, 84-89, 119-97.

The results:

Game 1 — TNT 86, San Miguel 84.
Game 2 — San Miguel 109, TNT 100.
Game 3 — San Miguel 108, TNT 100.
Game 4 — TNT 100, San Miguel 87.
Game 5 — TNT 102, San Miguel 93
Game 6 — San Miguel 114, TNT 96
Game 7 — San Miguel 119, TNT 97.

(San Miguel Beer wins series, 4-3).