San Miguel finishes off TNT, wins 2017 Commissioner’s Cup title

MANILA, Philippines - The San Miguel Beermen (SMB) are the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup Champions after edging TNT Katropa, 115-91, and 4-2 series lead on Sunday, June 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

San Miguel finishes off TNT, claims 2017 Commissioner’s Cup title
Congratulations, San Miguel Beermen! Photo Credit: Twitter/pbaconnect
Tough day for the Filipinos and the PBA as Mahindra Playing Coach Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao surrendered his WBO Welterweight crown to Aussie Jeff “Hornet” Horn early this afternoon. But that didn’t stop San Miguel Beermen and TNT Katropa in playing game number 6 of their best-of-seven finals series.

With the 3-2 advantage, SMB looked to wrap this series up while TNT who came in with a do-or-die status wanted to extend its conference with a win and force a game 7 come Wednesday next week.

Every ball possession counts and there’s a big reason to dive for the ball. The twins, Anthony and David Semerad spiced up the game with physical contacts on each other who were both trying to play their parts on their respective teams.

Game officials paused the game for several minutes after an altercation happened between the Semerad Brothers that escalated into a near brawl. After the official’s review, 5 technical fouls were called on San Miguel and 6 technicals were imposed in TNT.

After the Semirads’ incidents, Arwind Santos and Ranidel De Ocampo almost got into a fight where the SMB forward hit RDO hard in the head after the whistle was blown. Santos was called for a technical foul for unnecessary contact.

The infractions only made San Miguel tougher in the opening quarter as they ended the first 12 minutes of the game with an 11-point, 37-26 lead.

Roger Pogoy started to heat-up as the second started. Pogoy humiliated Arwind Santos in two occasions by driving and making baskets with the veteran’s outstretched arms in front of him. Coach Leo Austria didn’t like what he saw from his ward's defense so he called a timeout to straighten things up.

The Beermen extended their lead up to 18 but suffered a major setback after June Mar Fajardo committed his 3rd personal against Joshua Smith. Roger Pogoy once again came out of nowhere and trim the lead down to just 13.

Marcio Lassiter lighted it up at the three point territory to widen SMB’s margin. Another technical foul occurred at the TNT side after Ryan Reyes intentionally pushed Charles Rhodes on a rebound battle after Lassiter sank a trey.

San Miguel recorded their 20-point lead, 60-40 with 2 more minutes left in second. The Beermen maintained their 20-point margin after the first half of the game. 62-42 in favor of the SMB.

SMB continued to wax hot from the floor at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. TNT too matched-up its counterpart’s intensity through the efforts of Joshua Smith. “Jumbotron” highlighted a play where he erased Charles Rhodes in the no-charge zone and made a thunderous jam.

Roger Pogoy did it again. The rookie drained another long bomb to cut the lead to 13 just like in the first half. Coach Leo Austria burned another timeout to extinguish TNT’s burning hands.

That 30-second break brought Coach Austria a fortune as his boys got back on track and made a run to bring back the lead to 18.

Marcio Lassiter kept on pouring points from the perimeter even though June Mar Fajardo stayed on the bench for almost a quarter due to foul trouble. Lassiter’s mid-range jumpers escalated their lead to 22.

June Mar Fajardo entered the floor once again after a long hibernation and did some rim-cleaning jobs and helped his team in grabbing the boards against Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.

Super Marcio Lassiter led all players with 24 big points after 36 minutes of San Miguel basketball. 94-69 still in favor of the Beermen.

TNT had 12 more minutes to bring the humongous SMB lead down to even the series and live another day. Ranidel De Ocampo showed up with a veteran’s mindset and led his team in offensive attack. RDO managed to cut the lead to 21 and gave Arwind Santos his 5th personal foul.

TNT got lucky breaks off San Miguel’s turnovers and misses. But they too, missed some shots that could’ve brought the lead even lower.

Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross combined efforts in ramping the margin back to 20 plus. This time, it was Coach Nash Racela’s turn to call a necessary ceasefire to cool down the fiery Beermen.

The “Crunchman” Alex Cabagnot posted a rare triple double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists with 5 more minutes left in the game.

It looked like Coach Nash Racela waived the white flag earlier than expected. The young TNT coach, didn’t bother to bring his priced-import to the floor in the final period and even pulled out his top point guard Jayson Castro with 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Coach Leo Austria retained his starters on the court and kept on draining baskets to prevent a TNT run that could lead to an upset.

Under 2 minutes, SMB’s lead had gone up to 113 against TNT’s 84. Coach Austria pulled out his starters and sent his back-up unit to finish the job.

As the final horn sounded, the Beermen copped their 2nd title in 2 conferences. Confetti and balloons started to drop from the high ceilings of Araneta as SMB officially won the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup title.

Charles Rhodes, the Best Import of the Conference also showed a terrific basketball performance with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Coach Leo Austria is the first SMB Coach to win the elusive Commissioner’s Cup title since Coach Jong Uichico won it in the year 2000.

Alex Cabagnot won the unanimous Finals MVP who’s averaging 20.3 points per game since the finals started.

Alex Cabagnot won Finals MVP.
Alex Cabagnot won Finals MVP. Photo Credit: Twitter/pbaconnect
The Governor’s Cup will begin on July 19 where all teams can bring in an import with a 6’5” height limit. Michael Craig, TNT’s Governor’s Cup import is already in town together with Joshua Smith’s back-up reinforcement Myke Myers. San Miguel has also signed its import, comebacking Wendell Mckines who last played for the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters 2 seasons ago.

From The Summit Express, congratulations San Miguel Beermen! #FearTheBeer

-- Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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