MANILA, Philippines—Game 7 matched the hype and the San Miguel Beer lived up to its promise again.
Struggling mightily and pushed to their limit by a gutsy Magnolia side, the Beermen still found away to win and extend their reign in the PBA Philippine Cup for a historic fifth straight year.
Reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot showed nerves of steel in the pressure-packed moments as the Beermen overcame the biggest challenge yet to their throne.
Fajardo willed his way to 17 points and career-high 31 rebounds that also set the all-time high for most rebounds by a local in a game.
Cabagnot fired nine of his 18 points in a back-and-forth final frame including a tough fadeaway jumper that put San Miguel ahead for good, 72-71, with 57.2 ticks to go.
Arwind Santos also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Beermen, who needed to climb back from a 17-point hole and withstood a dreadful second quarter where they scored measly five points.
The Hotshots had no reason to be ashamed of but had several moments down the stretch they will most likely regret as the title slipped away from their fingertips.
Jio Jalalon, who was brilliant all-game long, muffed a gimme that would’ve put Magnolia ahead with less than 10 seconds left. Ian Sangalang also missed from short range with under a minute to go.
To no one’s surprise, Fajardo bagged the Finals MVP award, the third of his career, after averaging 22.9 points, 19.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in the series.
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