The 2017 Philippine Cup champions turned back the TNT KaTropa in six games to extend their All-Filipino dominance (2014-17) and find success in this particular conference after 17 years.
Mad respect for TNT and their gutsy reinforcement Joshua Smith, who put up a valiant stand and appeared to threaten the dynasty in the making after their opening match victory. In the end, though, the Beermen simply proved too much even for a powerhouse squad like the KaTropa.
To give you an idea of how superior SMB was: June Mar Fajardo could only muster two points, four rebounds, and two assists in the series clincher. Any time you get that kind of production from the reigning, three-time Most Valuable Player and still seal the deal, then the rest of the team must be great.
In fact, reserves Gabby Espinas (5) and David Semerad (4) even had more points than Fajardo. The latter surprisingly found playing time on a tight San Miguel rotation, and got the best of his twin Anthony in their first Finals meeting.
But the most important bench player was Arwind Santos, who has truly transformed into the consummate veteran. The 36-year-old poured 15 points when the Beermen pulled away in the first half, and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and one assist.
Marcio Lassiter fittingly silenced critics with his best outing in the series. What better time to break out of a shooting slump and drain five three-point shots, for a total 24 points, on top of five rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
It was another day in the office for the Best Player in the Conference, Chris Ross, as he stuffed the stat sheet—14 points, seven boards, three assists, three steals, and one block—while providing ultimate stability in the San Miguel backcourt.
Bringing back Charles Rhodes should be a no-brainer, with the way he capped off his stellar Best Import run. Rhodes had his usual colossal numbers in anchoring an offense that could really do without him: 30 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists.
Known for his clutch exploits, Alex Cabagnot was brilliant all game long, on his way to recording a triple-double (19 points, 12 boards, and 11 assists) and being named Finals MVP. He may have lost the BPC award to his teammate, but Cabagnot would've wanted this certain individual honor more.
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