May 15, 2019
Defending champion San Miguel Beer and Magnolia clash in a winner-take-all Game 7 tonight for the crown at 7 p.m. in of Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen are eyeing their ninth Philippine Cup title and 26th overall since joining the league in 1975 as one of the founding members.
“I hope we can make it back-to-back in Game 7. It did not happen before in this series because Magnolia knew how to play this kind of hard game. They are trained to hustle, pressure and everything. They have nothing to lose but everything to gain,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria, who is aiming for his seventh title in eight finals appearances.
The Beermen lost Game 1 (94-99) then bounced back in Game 2 (108-101) but lost Game 3 (86-82). They tied the series, 2-2, after winning Game 4 (114-98) then lost again Game 5 (88-86). San Miguel Beer, however, managed to force a Game 7 by winning Game 6 (98-86) on Sunday behind June Mar Fajardo’s superb performance.
The five-time Most Valuable Player Fajardo finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds and blocked two shots in Game 6.
“But I’m happy my players have the experience and know the importance how to win a championship. They know what kind of happiness they will bring to the fans and to their family. Next game, we are now talking about legacy. I hope we keep our pride that we got in previous years,” Austria added.
The Hotshots are ready to go-for-broke in Game 7 to deny the Beermen another championship.
“We are still positive. We know that it is not going to be easy,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. “We have another opportunity. But you know, it’s going to be a different story on Wednesday. We don’t know what will happen, but we always stay positive.”
Jio Jalalon posted 17 points and eight assists to lead Magnolia in Game 6.
Magnolia is gunning for a seventh Philippine Cup and 15th overall title since joining the PBA in 1988.
A Hotshots victory will also give Victolero his second straight title as a coach following his wards’ win in the last Governors’ Cup.
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