Magnolia guard Jio Jalalon looks for a way out of a crowded lane in Game Six of the PBA Philippine Cup finals last night. In the jam, from left, are SMB guard Alex Cabagnot, forward Arwind Santos and Hotshots’ center Rafi Reavis.
Jun Mendoza
Beermen refuse to yield
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2019 - 12:00am

SMB fights back anew, forces winner-take-all

MANILA, Philippines — Hold that beer, San Miguel isn’t about to abdicate the throne.

Their reign under siege, the five-peat-seeking Beermen unleashed their full might on challenger Magnolia Hotshots and stormed to a masterful 98-86 victory to force a rubber match for the PBA Philippine Cup crown last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Stymied last time in an eventful, Spiderman-disrupted Game Five, the Beermen fired away like a true super power, bombarding Magnolia with a barrage of triples to open the game with a 25-12 tear, and never downshifted the rest of the way to square the series at 3-3.

“You can see the players didn’t want to lose this game. They understood the implication if we lost. They didn’t want to relinquish the title. And now, we have a good chance to grab it again,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.

The Beermen and the Hotshots go at it one last time and settle the score on Wednesday, the first Game 7 in the league since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup duel between TnT and Rain or Shine.

San Miguel got the usual numbers from June Mar Fajardo, who scattered 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, even as Marcio Lassiter (20) and+ Chris Ross (17) spearheaded the perimeter attack, knocking down three and five triples, respectively.

Off the bench, Christian Standhardinger and Terrence Romeo delivered 16 and nine, respectively, helping the Beermen maintain big spreads that reached as high as 22. 

Magnolia cut the SMB lead to six at the start the fourth but a clutch trey by Romeo sparked a 14-1 blast that restored an 82-63 upperhand.

“Our inside and outside game were good tonight,” said Austria, whose wards made 34 points inside the paint and connected on 14 of their 40 tries from beyond the arc (35 percent) and 37-of-88 (42 percent) overall.

The scores:

San Miguel 98 – Fajardo 23, Lassiter 20, Ross 17, Standhardinger 16, Romeo 9, Santos 8, Cabagnot 3, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.

Magnolia 86 – Jalalon 17, Reavis 16, Sangalang 14, Brondial 12, Lee 10, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 5, Herndon 5, Melton 4, Simon 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 25-12, 50-36, 68-62, 98-86.

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