Austria thanks Santos, Fajardo, Ross for each of San Miguel's three PH Cup titles
The San Miguel Beermen presents the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy to SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang. Jerome Ascano

LEO Austria compared San Miguel's latest PBA Philippine Cup conquest to an airplane that took off shakily but landed safely.

"Throughout our flight, bago pa lang mag-take off andiyan na ang turbulence," he began his speech as the Beermen presented the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy to SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang at the team headquarters in Mandaluyong on Friday night.

"We didn't have a smooth sailing, but we landed safely."

Indeed, they did.

The Beermen became only the second team in league history to win the Perpetual Trophy after clinching the all-Filipino championship for the third straight season by making short work of the Barangay Ginebra Kings in the best-of-seven finals last week.

As he always does, Ang kept a low profile and simply thanked the entire team for winning the Philippine Cup for the third straight season. He later personally led a toast to the Beermen.

Austria mentioned three players who played a key role in each of the all-Filipino championship the Beermen won.

He first cited Arwind Santos for hitting the game-winner in the deciding Game Seven of the team's 2015 title conquest against Alaska.

Then, there was June Mar Fajardo, who came back from injury and played in the final three games of the 2016 Finals to steer the franchise to a historic comeback from an 0-3 deficit to win the crown in what later became popularly known as 'Beer-acle.'

And finally, Chris Ross, whose all-around game against the Kings spelled the difference in this year's title series.

"Pinabayaan nilang mag-shoot ng three-points. Hindi nila alam, handang-handa yung bata," said Austria of the PBA Press Corps' Finals MVP for the second straight season.

The soft-spoken coach later thanked the entire team, including the SMC management, for making the special feat possible.

"Maraming bayani sa team na ito, from the ballboys to the management. Lahat sila bayani," said the San Miguel coach.


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