SAN Miguel Beer completed its utter destruction of Talk ‘N Text, 100-87 for a four-game sweep of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Save for a 0-1 deficit during the first 42 seconds of the game, the Beermen were never headed as big games from June Mar Fajardo Alex Cabagnot led the team back to the finals for the first time since the 2013 Governors Cup.
The first-ever 4-0 sweep in the franchise's 40 years - and only the seventh in league history - also moved the Beermen a step away from ending a three-year title drought.
The 6-10 Fajardo was a dominant inside once more, banging in 28 points and hauling down 16 rebounds as the Texters simply couldn't find an answer to the Gilas back-up big man.
The Beermen, the only remaining pioneer member in Asia’s first professional league, will now get a finals shot at their first all-Filipino conference title since the 2001 season, when the team was ironically being handled by now Talk 'N Text coach Jong Uichico.
Overall, the San Miguel franchise will be shooting for its 20th PBA championship.
At the same time, the series win avenged the team’s 4-2 Finals series loss to Talk ‘N Text during the 2011 Philippine Cup, while dealing the Tropang Texters the first-ever series shutout in franchise history.
“I give credit to the players. They really worked hard for this semis (win),” said a beaming coach Leo Austria, who took over the coaching reins from American Todd Purves during the offseason.
“Now that we’re in the Finals, we’ll take a break for two days and we’ll see what we will try to do in the (preparation for the) Finals. We will celebrate for a while.”
Austria said the emphatic win in the best-of-seven series was something he never expected considering the rich championship experience of the Tropang Texters, who have won five championships over the last five years.
Cabagnot finished with 16 points, six rebounds and one assist while three other Beermen had 11 points or more.
Jimmy Alapag had his best offensive night this season after scoring 17 points, on top of seven rebounds and three steals, but his effort went for naught.