PBA: After 3 years, San Miguel regains All-Filipino crown

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2022 08:30 PM | Updated as of Sep 04 2022 09:20 PM

The San Miguel Beermen celebrate after winning the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Images.
The San Miguel Beermen celebrate after winning the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Images.

MANILA (UPDATED) - After three years, the San Miguel Beermen have regained the PBA All-Filipino crown.

The Beermen weathered a gutsy effort by the undermanned TNT Tropang GIGA in Game 7 of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, coming away with a 119-97 triumph on Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

It's the first time since 2019 that San Miguel has ruled the Philippine Cup, when they won the last of five straight All-Filipino titles. What followed was a period of transition that saw San Miguel trade away two of its core players in Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot, breaking up their famed "Death Five."

In return, they got the likes of CJ Perez, Vic Manuel, and Simon Enciso -- all of whom played big roles in the Beermen's run to their 10th All-Filipino crown in history. Three members of their core remained -- June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter -- and all were superb in the do-or-die Game 7 of the series.

A crowd of over 15,000 fans watched as San Miguel turned the game around in the fourth quarter, out-scoring TNT 17-0 to open the period. That blistering run erased the Tropang GIGA's 89-84 lead entering the final frame, and put the Beermen in control, 101-89.

San Miguel wound up out-scoring TNT, 35-8, in the final quarter to finally break the game open, pulling away from a TNT team that had refused to back down despite not having head coach Chot Reyes in the venue due to health and safety protocols.

"This show will not be better if not for the entire team, the players. Sila ang hari nitong ligang ito. Sila ang may gawa ng lahat ng ito. Kaya ako ay nagpapasalamat sa kanila dahil nagmukha na naman akong magaling," SMB coach Leo Austria said after the game.


TNT battled for three quarters, with Jayson Castro bucking an ankle sprain to lead the way for the squad. They also lost Poy Erram late in the second quarter, after the center was ejected due to a flagrant foul.

The Beermen were in control at the half, 66-55, but Castro put together a truly heroic effort in the third quarter to drag the Tropang GIGA back in the hunt. "The Blur" scored 19 points in the period, out-scoring San Miguel by himself.

With Castro leading the charge, TNT erased the 11-point halftime deficit and surged ahead, 89-84, entering the final frame. 

But San Miguel had more firepower down the stretch. They stunned TNT by scoring 17 unanswered points to open the fourth quarter, turning what had been a five-point deficit into a commanding 101-89 lead with 7:20 to go.

Perez was sensational in the run, scoring seven points including the jumper that capped the run. It wasn't until the 7:09 mark that TNT finally got on the board, nailing two free throws for a 101-91 count. It would not be enough, however: Ross waxed hot in the final four minutes, nailing back-to-back triples for a 113-94 count.

It was Fajardo who put the finishing touches on the win, nailing a three-pointer of his own for a 116-94 lead with just 1:44 to play.

"Allow me to congratulate Coach Chot Reyes and the entire Talk 'N Text for bringing the best in us. Talagang pinag-isip kami, maraming sleepless night," Austria said afterward.


Fajardo capped a truly dominant campaign with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists in the series-clinching win, and won a deserved Finals MVP award to go along with his Best Player of the Conference trophy.

In seven games, Fajardo averaged 19 points on 70% shooting, 16.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.

He was ably assisted by Perez, who finished with 25 points and seven assists in Game 7. Ross had 12 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter, along with five boards and four dimes. Lassiter scattered 19 points.

The Beermen, as a team, shot nearly 55% from the field against a TNT team that prides itself on its defense. They had a whopping 56-37 advantage on the boards, and went blow for blow with TNT, nailing 13 triples to 14 for the Tropang GIGA.

Castro finished with a game-high 32 points along with 10 rebounds and eight assists, playing nearly 34 minutes despite having sprained his ankle in Game 5. Mikey Williams, who was the Finals MVP when TNT won the All-Filipino crown last year, scored 17 points in the first quarter but was limited to five points the rest of the way.

TNT shot just 39.3% from the field in the game. According to Fidel Mangonon III, the PBA's official statistician, this was the most lopsided Game 7 in the league's history.

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 119 -- Perez 25, Fajardo 19, Manuel 16, Lassiter 15, Tautuaa 13, Ross 12, Enciso 12, Cruz 4, Brondial 3, Canete 0, Faundo 0, Pessumal 0, Zamar 0.

TNT 97 -- Castro 32, M. Williams 22, Pogoy 16, Rosario 11, Erram 7, K. Williams 6, Marcelo 3, Montalbo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Reyes 0, Alejandro 0.

Quarters: 29-31, 66-55, 84-89, 119-97.

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