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PBA: Beermen Keep PH Cup Crown, Gain Perpetual Trophy [VIDEO]

THE San Miguel Beermen whoop it up after successfully defending their Philippine Cup crown at the expense of crowd drawer Ginebra Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Rio Deluvio)
THE San Miguel Beermen whoop it up after successfully defending their Philippine Cup crown at the expense of crowd drawer Ginebra Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Rio Deluvio)
THE San Miguel Beermen whoop it up after successfully defending their Philippine Cup crown at the expense of crowd drawer Ginebra Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Rio Deluvio)

The San Miguel Beermen made history Sunday night behind one spectacular performance by the PBA’s newest star.

Chris Ross put on one of the most memorable performances in recent finals memory with his fantastic defensive effort and an amazing basket late that gave the Beermen their third straight PBA Philippine Cup title with a 91-85 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel before a crowd of over 20,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ross finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists and six steals and was the hands-down choice as the Cignal Finals Most Valuable Player after capping off the series with big stops amid several rallies by Ginebra in the fourth quarter.

6Ross
SAN Miguel point guard Chris Ross proudly raises his Finals MVP plaque. (Rio Deluvio)

Taking pride in his play on the defensive end, Ross stole the ball three times from Joe Devance, keeping the Beermen afloat after Ginebra pulled within 70-69 on Sol Mercado’s two free throws with 8:37 remaining in the match.

Then he saved his best for last that secured the Beermen’s ownership of the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy while enhancing their status as the league’s winningest team with their 23rd championship with a tough follow-up reverse off a bungled jumper by Alex Cabagnot for an 89-83 lead, 42 seconds left.

Ross’ incredible basket all but confirmed San Miguel’s place in history – joining Talk ‘N Text as the only teams to claim ownership of the two perpetual trophies made by the famous sculptor Ramon Orlina and named after the late PBA commissioner.

The 31-year-old Fil-American product of Marshall University, the former Philippine Basketball League Most Valuable Player who bounced around three teams since his pro entry in 2009 before finding a home with the San Miguel franchise, is now the famous Beerman in town.

He was brash and intense during the series, but was the most humble person after the balloons and confetti fell from the Big Dome rafters.

“This team is all about sacrifice. That’s how we win three straight championships in the All-Filipino,” said Ross, who played for Coca-Cola, Sta. Lucia and Meralco before joining the Beermen in 2013.

Not even the presence of the great Robert Jaworski, the one who nurtured Ginebra’s never say die spirit, prevented San Miguel from completing its date with destiny.

Coach Leo Austria, who as a player was part of Shell’s 3-1 meltdown against Ginebra in the 1991 First Conference, made it four championships out of four finals appearance, a remarkable feat for a guy who was hired by San Miguel in 2014 in hopes of ending a series of playoff frustrations and disgruntled atmosphere described as “Petronovela.”

Petronovela is now dead. The famous 0-3 comeback known as the “Beeracle” will forever be remembered, but the three-peat was San Miguel’s coup de grace.

Best Player of the Conference winner June Mar Fajardo finished with 21 points, six rebounds and two blocks, Arwind Santos also scored 21 points with eight rebounds and two blocks and Cabagnot had 18 points.

Three Ginebra players hit at least 20 points. Japeth Aguilar led the way with 26 while Mercado and Joe Devance made 20 apiece in their failure to extend the series to at least another game.

Ginebra, failing to repeat after ending an eight-year title drought in last season’s Governors’ Cup, became the last obstacle in the Ross-led Beermen’s ascension to the throne. (Jonas Terrado)

SAN MIGUEL 91 – Fajardo 21, Santos 21, Cabagnot 18, Lassiter 12, Ross 12, Espinas 4, Tubid 3, De Ocampo 0.
GINEBRA 85 – Aguilar 26, Devance 20, Mercado 20, Tenorio 10, Marcelo 4, Thompson 3, Caguioa 2, Ferrer 0.
Quarters: 27-21; 51-41; 63-61; 91-85.

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Written by Tempo Desk Online

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