WHETHER miracles in basketball do come true or not will be known on Wednesday night when San Miguel Beer battles Alaska in Game Seven of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Beermen rose from the ashes after falling into a deep 3-0 hole and are now on the verge of becoming the first PBA team to overcome such deficit, a feat never been done in the PBA and even in the NBA.
“Ang battle cry namin: as long as we play hard, play our hearts out, there’s always a miracle every day and hopefully tomorrow, there’s another miracle,” veteran SMB guard Ronald Tubid said. “And we can call it ‘Beeracle,’ sabi nga nila.”
If ever they achieve the improbable, the Beermen will also revive their bid for a rare grand slam.
But SMB star Arwind Santos believes the quest for history of winning after losing the first three games in a playoff series weighs heavier.
“Baka nga hindi na mapansin yung grand slam,” Santos said. “Mas mapapansin pa yung history at legacy na hindi talaga mabubura. Ang grand slam marami ng nakakagawa, pero yung history ng ganun, wala pa sa larangan ng basketball.”
“Lahat ng tao, kahit lumpo, kung bibigyan mo ng isang dahilan para makuha yung legacy, kahit lumpo siya, gagawin niya lahat ng paraan para makuha yun,” he added.
And what should be the Beermen’s mindset in another do-or-die game? Play the same way they’ve been doing since Game Four – like it’s their last of the conference.
How they got here has no bearing.
“The first six games didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how you got to Game Seven,” SMB playmaker Chris Ross said. “All that matters is that there’s a Game Seven and you put everything out there to win one game.”
It takes a lot more than Xs and Os to prevail in the biggest stage of the game.
“It’s more of desire kung sino yun talagang gusto manalo,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “Energy-wise, both teams will have a lot of it. Imporatante dito yung composure.”
“And I think yung composure nandun na,” he added. “The good thing with this team is that after winning two championships (last season), they know how to win and they know the kind of pressure they’re facing, and they know what to do against the pressure.”
The Beermen have beaten the Aces twice in the finals and Austria is hoping they pull off a hat-trick.
“Sabi nga nila, there’s always a first time, but I hope na hindi pa nila (Alaska) makuha yung first time,” he said with a smile.