MANILA, Philippines - The just concluded PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals was one for the books – classic and rare where everyone felt like a winner.
In the fateful Game Seven, the B-Meg Llamados rose from deathbed in regulation play, lived on in overtime and came out the amazing winners of the series.
The Texters were dethroned but left the playing venue with their heads up, knowing they gave their utmost best. It was a rare moment where the losers also felt like winners.
Engaging in an epic battle – the first Game Seven that went into overtime in 17 years – both teams were winners in the eyes of many.
The series itself was a big winner – a huge success drawing record gate attendance and gate receipts with an average of 16,403 crowd per game.
“It’s a great series. It’s a pity only one had to win. (The Tropang Texters) were warriors to the very end,” said Rene Pardo, B-Meg’s representative to the PBA board.
“I guess this is one of the best PBA finals series ever. It feels so sweet to win it,” said B-Meg team manager Alvin Patrimonio.
“Congrats B-Meg and coach Tim Cone for a well-deserved championship. I’m super proud of my team, though. We gave it our all. It wasn’t enough but nothing to be shamed of,” said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes.
“If you asked me how we’re able to pull through, I have absolutely zero idea about what happened. It was pretty amazing. But I think you have to do amazing stuff to be able to beat a team that plays like Talk n Text,” said Cone.
Cone then talked lengthily in pointing out how great a team Talk n Text is, likening it to the great Chicago Bulls team during its Michael Jordan era.
“One thing for a team to be talented, and it’s another for a team to work hard all the time. What makes it special is when a team is talented and it works hard. That’s what made Chicago special. That’s the description then for the Chicago Bulls and that’s the description now for Talk n Text,” said Cone.
“That’s hard to accomplish. Usually when you’re talented, you feel you don’t need to work hard. And when you’re not talented, you feel you need to work hard. Rarely they come together. But Talk n Text is able to accomplish that,” Cone added.
Cone was amazed of the Texters that he was amazed much more when his troops were able to beat them.
“I’m in total shock. I tried to exude a lot of confidence going to this series but I wasn’t sure we can beat them,” Cone added.
“It’s a miracle win that’s why I feel this is the sweetest championship I have won,” said B-Meg top gun James Yap, now a three-time champion in the pro league.
The Llamados pulled off a tough trick to win this championship, needing to fight back from a nine-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation play.
Denzel Bowles forced overtime with two free throws then scored 11 points in the extra period to personally carry the Llamados to Dream Land before a crowd of over 21,000 Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“This is a breakthrough for me and my whole family. I’ve never experienced this before,” said Bowles, the tournament Best Import who saved his best for last.
It looked like a won ball game for the Texters that the TnT gallery unfurled championship banners in the closing seconds of regulation.
But the Llamados stole the championship, very much the same way the U-Tex Wranglers grabbed the 1980 Open Conference crown from the hands of the Toyota Tamaraws.
The Toyota crowd had already brought out their championship streamers at endgame of the deciding Game Five then, but U/Tex, led by imports Aaron James and Glen McDonald, rallied to steal the crown.
The Llamados will have Marqus Blakely in tow as they return to action in the third conference starting May 20, taking their turn to chase back-to-back titles.