Fans of the San Mig Coffee Mixers celebrate the team's historic PBA grand slam. Photo by Vincent Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - The San Mig Coffee Mixers tormented their fans Wednesday night, missing four free throws that led to a thrilling end in the final game of the Philippine Basketball Association conference.
James Yap, along with Mark Barroca, missed several chances to extend their lead in the final seconds of the game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Araneta Coliseum.
Hundreds of fans outside the stadium, who were unlucky to secure tickets for the sold-out PBA Governors' Cup Finals game, had their hands clasped on top of their heads as they watched in disbelief.
The feeling of frustration, which was evident in the loud groans, soon turned to tension as Rain or Shine -- led by Paul Lee and the league's Best Import Arizona Reid -- tried to send the game into overtime.
Each three-point attempt by Rain or Shine players was met with silence as fans of the Coffee Mixers collectively held their breath.
Ecstatic cheers, however, soon followed as Reid missed his final shot with less than 3 seconds to go, eventually handing the trophy to the team in white.
It finally allowed the team's fans, who were sparsely jubilant throughout the game, to finally heave a sigh of relief.
"Grand slam! Grand slam!" a fan shouted at the top of his lungs to others in the crowd, as their team clinched its first franchise PBA grand slam.
Another held a banner that wrote: "It's all about San Miguel Coffee Mixers!"
And it was.
The Rain or Shine fans outside, if there were any, were clearly outnumbered.
Every shot by the eventual Most Valuable Player James Yap had everyone clapping, every block by Reid was met with cheers, and the final whistle had everyone jumping off their seats.
Those moments broke the otherwise quiet and still crowd, who were sitting in the concrete just outside where the game was being played.
The visible lack of confetti and balloons raining down on them was not important for fans of the team, who stayed unmoved in front of the four flat-screen television screens placed outside the venue.
Their team won.