Mark Barroca came through with one big basket after the other at crunch time to power San Mig to the PBA Philippine Cup championship via an emotional 93-87 Game Six victory over Rain or Shine on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Barroca, a former Smart Gilas mainstay who came into his own in his third season with San Mig, took over when the Mixers needed a leader on the court in a thrilling game marred by a 'partial walkout' by Rain or Shine before more than 20,000 fans inside the historic Big Dome.
The diminutive San Mig playmaker completed three-point play off Jervy Cruz, nailed a top-of-the-key three-pointer, before adding a drive to the basket over a one-minute span to personally keep a fighting Rain or Shine side at bay, 89-83, with 1:32 to go.
Beau Belga matched Barroca with his own eight-point cluster, though San Mig’s energetic forward Marc Pingris preserved his teammate’s heroics with a pair of foul shots as well as a defensive play that forced Paul Lee to a turnover that all but settled the outcome of the title series.
Barroca cemented his place as one of the league’s fast-rising point guards after scoring a game-high 24 points, 18 in the second half, to go along with three rebounds and five assists as San Mig won its second successive league championship via 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series.
The playmaker out of Far Eastern University was later adjudged as the PBA Press Corps-Papa John's Pizza Finals MVP.
The title conquest also moved San Mig coach Tim Cone past the legendary Virgilio `Baby’ Dalupan to become the most successful coach of the league of all time with his 16 PBA championships.
At the same time, the championship made San Mig one of the greatest All-Filipino teams with six Philippine Cup championships since joining the league in 1988.
The Mixers’ championship conquest overshadowed the Elasto Painters’ dramatic 'walkout' just 21 seconds into the second period after what coach Yeng Guiao felt were “bad calls” against his team.
After league commissioner Chito Salud and special assistant Willy Marcial talked with Rain or Shine team owner Raymund Yu outside the team’s dugout, Guiao and the rest of the Elasto Painters eventually returned to the court to resume action.
The 'walkout,' however, appeared to pump up the Elasto Painters, who battled back from several deficits as big as 17 points to pull within six, 49-43, at the half.
Rain or Shine even took the lead briefly in the third quarter and kept the game close until the fourth, where Barroca scored 14 points to seal the deal for the Mixers.
San Mig 93 - Barroca 24, Sangalang 15, Devance 12, Pingris 12, Yap 10, Simon 9, Reavis 5, Mallari 4, Melton 2.
Rain or Shine 87 - Lee 23, Belga 21, Cruz 11, Chan 7, Quinahan 6, Rodriguez 6, Arana 5, Tiu 3, Ibanes 3, Norwood 2, Almazan 0, Tang 0.
Quarterscores: 30-17, 49-43, 66-67, 93-87