MANILA, Philippines – Cleveland rookie Collin Sexton was treated to a defensive battle on Wednesday night when he watched Game 7 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia.
Sexton, the 8th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Rookie Draft, witnessed how the Beermen clawed their way back from 17 points down to stun the Hotshots, 72-71, and claim their fifth consecutive All-Filipino championship.
"It was great. They was battling from start to finish," said Sexton in an interview Thursday.
"You can tell they were out there really competing. They were fouling just to make sure that they didn't get anything easy. So it was a great game," he added. "I like how the fan base were. They were on both sides, for both teams."
"It was great."
Sexton, who is in town for the Jr. NBA National Training Camp this weekend, was especially impressed with the performance of San Miguel superstar June Mar Fajardo.
The "Kraken" made history in Game 7, grabbing 31 rebounds – the most by a local player. He also scored 17 points in the game as San Miguel overcame a brutal second quarter where they scored just five points.
"The big guy, I think he had like 31 rebounds. He was a monster down there," said Sexton of Fajardo, the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player.
"And on the other side, they had a lot of great little scrappy guards that were playing pretty good on defense, and also scoring the ball," he said of Magnolia's prolific backcourt.
"So, when you're doing it on both ends, it just reminds me of how I play."
Sexton, who averaged 16.7 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game as a rookie, said watching the duel between Magnolia and San Miguel made him long for his own chance to one day play in a Game 7 as well.
"There's nothing like a Game 7," said the former Alabama star. "It's win or go home."
"Last night, they put it on the line," Sexton said of San Miguel and Magnolia. "I know that when it's my time to go, I'll make sure I'll put everything out there."
Sexton, along with WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro, will be at the Jr. NBA National Training Camp this weekend at the Don Bosco Technical Institute.
They will help select the five best boys and girls from the 80 finalists, who will be named to the 2019 Jr. NBA Philippines All-Star Team.
They will also be the assistant coaches for the annual Jr. NBA Alumni All-Star Game.
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