BARELY has the euphoria of its record-setting four straight PBA Philippine Cup championship died down, and yet San Miguel is already looking forward to topping what it just achieved Friday night.
The Beermen chanted ‘One More’! ‘One More’! in the din of their celebration at the Mall of Asia Arena center court following their 108-99 conquest of the Magnolia Hotshots in double overtime to win the best-of-seven finals and retain their All-Filipino crown.
Arwind Santos later confirmed the team’s plan to further extend their reign as kings of the tournament considered the most prestigious in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“Kung makikita mo yung mga kasama ko kanina nung nagyayakapan kami, ‘One More,' meron pang ganun,” said ‘The Spiderman.’
“Yung five-peat, sisikapin pa rin namin yun.”
San Miguel became the first team in PBA history to win the Philippine Cup title in four consecutive seasons. The fabled Crispa franchise also won successive All-Filipino crowns from 1979 to 1984, although the run was cut in between 1981 and 82 when no such tournament was held.
Now the Beermen are looking to up the ante further.
The 36-year-old Santos said the Beermen had set their sights on winning the Philippine Cup anew prior to the start of this season.
“Alam namin na bawat isa pinangarap namin ito, yung four-peat,” said the lanky power forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Talagang pinag-usapan namin ito, hindi pa nag-uumpisa (yung season).”
Santos finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the title-clinching Game 5 win. He was 3-of-4 from three-point range, none more important than the one he buried in the final 16 seconds of regulation that tied the score at 86-all and sent the game into overtime.
The former MVP knew right away the Beermen had the Hotshots on the ropes when he sank that dagger trey to cap the champions’ comeback from as much as a 23-point deficit.
“Nakita ko sa mga mata ng bawat isa sa amin yung trophy, na alam namin na sa amin na,” he said of the three-point shot assisted by Chris Ross.
“Huwag lang kaming magmamadali, parang nakita ko na yung mga kasama ko na relax na,” added Santos. “Eto na, kaya kumpiyansa na akong nung time na yun.”
The game went into a second overtime, which the Beermen opened with five straight unanswered points.
“Nung naka-limang puntos kami, patay na. Eto na yung momentum namin,” Santos said of San Miguel finally taking control.
“Hindi na namin binitawan. Wala ng pipigil sa iyo. Sige na kayurin mo na. Tulungan na tayo,” the San Miguel forward confided of what was going thru the Beermen’s minds at that moment. “Huwag lang bibitaw, konti na lang. Yun na, hindi na kami bumitaw hanggang sa dulo.”
San Miguel won the series, 4-1, including a sweep of the last four games.