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    SMB completes PH Cup five-peat after gripping Game 7 win over Magnolia

    5 days ago
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    FIVE rings to adorn this San Miguel dynasty.

    The Beermen extended their reign in the PBA Philippine Cup in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat Magnolia, 72-71, in a Game Seven to remember on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    June Mar Fajardo collared a PBA-record 31 rebounds while Alex Cabagnot hit the game's biggest shot, converting a fallaway jumper with 57.2 seconds for what proved to be the marginal basket, 72-71, in a see-sawing game of wildly changing fortunes.

    By winning the best-of-seven finals, 4-3, the Beermen continued an unprecedented run of championships in the league's most prestigious conference with five trophies - and still counting.

    Cabagnot led the comeback in the second half after the Beermen fell behind by double digits in the second quarter where they scored only five points, the lowest Game Seven output for a quarter in PBA history, according to league statistician Fidel Mangonon.

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    Magnolia still had one shot at the victory when Marcio Lassiter committed a turnover off an inbound, but San Miguel’s stingy defense forced Jalalon to miss a short stab with Fajardo collaring his 31st rebound of the game.

    Fajardo missed two free throws with four seconds remaining but Magnolia, without a timeout, couldn’t put up a shot better than a desperation heave from the backcourt by Paul Lee.

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      Cabagnot led San Miguel in scoring with 18 points while Fajardo had 17 points and 31 rebounds to break the previous record by a local of 29 set by Marcelo Simbulan of 7-Up in the league's first season in 1975. Arwind Santos added 17 points.

      A stingy defense in the second quarter allowed Magnolia to take a 38-25 lead at the half. The Hotshots were still up, 43-26, in the third quarter, before the Beermen made the comeback.

      Ian Sangalang topscored with 18 points while Paul Lee and Rafi Reavis added 11 points each for Magnolia, which extended its Philippine Cup title drought to five years.

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      The scores:

      San Miguel 72 – Cabagnot 18, Fajardo 17, Santos 17, Ross 7, Lassiter 5, Romeo 4, Standhardinger 4, Pessumal 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

      Magnolia 71 – Sangalang 18, Lee 11, Reavis 11, Jalalon 8, Barroca 7, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 3, Brondial 2, Herndon 0.

      Quarters: 20-24; 25-38; 50-58; 72-71.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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