#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Finals Roundup: January 21, 2015

It was the San Miguel Beermen’s turn to rally in the endgame, roaring back from a 6-point deficit in the final 4 minutes of Game 7 in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, to win their first All-Filipino crown since 2001.

Game recap (adapted from InterAKTV):

Box Scores.
The powerhouse San Miguel Beermen, led by their MVP duo of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, won their 1st championship in an All-Filipino conference in 14 years after defeating Alaska, 80-78, in a thrilling Game Seven of the PBA Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

June Mar Fajardo finally bags his first PBA title.
(image by Nuki Sabio/PBA)

Fajardo and Santos, the MVPs of the last two PBA seasons, both came up big for San Miguel in the all-important do-or-die game.

Fajardo had 21 points and 25 rebounds, while Santos had 22 points, 12 boards, 3 steals, and 4 blocks for the newly-crowned champion Beermen.

First All-Filipino title since 2001 for the Beermen!
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

It was the 6-foot-10 center who dominated the early goings of the contest while the lanky veteran forward made the big shots down the stretch as they survived another big charge from the never-say-die Aces.

Alaska trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half, but the Aces came all the way back to lead by six points in the fourth quarter. It was San Miguel showing their heart in the end, though, as they made the big plays that eventually decided the series.

San Miguel, which had at time struggled to get their reigning MVP quality touches in the series, had no such trouble in the first half. The big man scored early in the opening period after an impressive euro step on his way to the basket.

The dominating Fajardo already had 15 points and 12 rebounds at the halfway point of the game.

June Mar Fajardo was unstoppable in the first half.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

Alaska, however, would not lay down and allow San Miguel to just romp their way to the title. Led by Calvin Abueva, they unleashed a 32-14 third quarter as they trimmed the lead down to just three points, 62-59, heading into the final period.

Abueva scored eight of Alaska’s first 10 points as he sparked a 10-2 run for the Aces. He scored a total of 13 points in the third, but he got some help from his teammates, particularly Sonny Thoss, who had some strong finishes in the paint despite getting fouled.

As we've been accustomed to, Calvin Abueva sparked another rally for the Aces.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

The fourth quarter was a tough, physical affair that went back and forth early before Alaska again had a big run.

With the Aces down by five points, Thoss scored on a floater on a pick and roll with JVee Casio before Abueva attacked the hoop to earn a trip to the free throw line, knocking down one of his two attempts.

Abueva then made a crucial play, finding a streaking Ping Exciminiano with a long pitch from the backcourt for two points in transition that finally drew Alaska even with San Miguel at 68-all. They then took the lead for the first time since the first quarter after Baguio finished on another fastbreak opportunity for the Aces.

Abueva scored on back-to-back baskets to cap an 11-0 run that gave the Aces a 74-68 lead with 4:21 to play.

San Miguel, though, showed their heart as they countered with a rally of their own.

Fajardo hit a pair of free throws and Chris Lutz scored in transition as they closed back to within two points, 74-72.

Santos then came up big for the Beermen, hitting a booming three-pointer that put them back on top at 79-78 with 43.7 seconds left. On defense, he came up with the board on a miss from a driving Thoss and went to the line on the other, knocking down to free throws that made it 80-78 with 18.9 seconds remaining.

Abueva missed two attempts on the other end, first on a floater, and another on a tip-in.

Ronald Tubid grabbed the rebound, but he gave Alaska some glimmer of hope after calling for a timeout his team no longer had. Alaska sharpshooter Dondon Hontiveros missed the resulting technical free throw, though, as San Miguel kept a two-point lead with five seconds left.

Abueva was able to force a jumpball on Fajardo and even won the tip but Casio missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.

Line of the Game & Finals MVP: Arwind Santos - 22pts, 12rebs, 4blks, 3stls, and 5 triples.

Arwind Santos was #Clutch in Game 7! Rightfully so, he was named Finals MVP!
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

Former SMB gunner Dondon Hontiveros couldn't tow his squad to the Game 7 W.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

Rookie PBA head coach Leo Austria basks in the glory of winning his first PBA crown!
(image by Pranz Kaeno Billones/Sports5)

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