THE San Miguel Beermen completed its miracle run and made PBA history by winning the title of the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup after coming back from a 0-3 hole.
SMB pulled away in the third quarter and held on until the fourth quarter to beat the Alaska Aces, 96-89, last night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Star center June Mar Fajardo, just in his third game after a knee injury, and guard Chris Ross carried most of the offensive load of SMB with a combined 42 points. Fajardo had a double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Ross also dropped 21 along with five rebounds and five assists.
The game was close in the first two quarters with SMB only up ahead 43-38 in halftime.
However, it was in the third quarter that the Beermen pulled away, headed by Fajardo’s 11-point performance. SMB started the period strong with a 16-4 run for a 17-point, 59-42, midway in the third. SMB still kept their 17-point lead, 68-51, entering the final quarter.
Alaska, however, fought back in the fourth. Calvin Abueva and Chris Banchero sparked a 12-2 run and trimmed SMB’s lead to five, 75-70, with 7:35 on the clock.
But Arwind Santos hit a three-pointer and Ross made back-to-back layups to give SMB a comfortable 84-72 lead with 4:35 left in regulation.
Cyrus Baguio hit a huge three-pointer but Ross had an answer and also hit his shot from beyond the arc to keep it a 12-point lead, 87-75.
Abueva and RJ Jazul cut it down to single digits with two straight baskets but Fajardo answered to turn the lead back up. Marcio Lassiter finished Alaska off with two free throw shots.
Lassiter added 15 points, while Santos had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
This is the first time in PBA history that a team down 0-3 came back to win the championship.
Chriss Ross was named the MVP of the series after finishing Game 7 with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.