General Admission

San Miguel’s greatness is beyond compare

By Al S. Mendoza

SAN Miguel Beer is champion again.

By defeating TNT KaTropa in Game Six, the Beermen recently completed a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven title series.

In defeat, TNT was virtually shamed.

It got to the second round first with a 10-1, win-loss card in the 12-team elimination round.

In contrast, San Miguel Beer was second-to-last among eight teams that reached the second phase.

Almost as easily, TNT dispatched both its quarterfinal and semifinal rivals.

But not SMB, which needed two straight wins against No. 2 Northport before outlasting Rain or Shine in the best-of-five semifinal series.

And just one day after dismissing Rain or Shine, SMB was back on the floor.

Thus, the over-fatigued Beermen became easy pickings for the KaTropa in Game One of their race-to-four Finals.

And although it equalized the series at 1-1 with a Game Two victory lasting two overtimes, SMB succumbed to exhaustion anew to drop Game Three and trail TNT 1-2.

But San Miguel being used to adversity, it came back strong anew in the remainder of the series.

By beating TNT three straight from Game Four to Game Six, SMB proved once more that its greatness is beyond compare.

Very rare do we see a team stringing up three victories—and in a championship series at that.

Credit of course goes to SMB coach Leo Austria, who made the varied talents of his seven assistants to full use in plotting his team’s almost expected ultimate triumph.

In his victory speech, Austria acknowledged his staff’s “tireless energy” but, in another shining moment defining his SMB career, he mentioned “RSA’s very valuable support that helped us achieve our championship goal again.”

RSA, of course, is Ramon S. Ang, the President/CEO of San Miguel Corporation, whose unflagging energy keyed SMB’s 42nd PBA Finals appearance leading to 27 record PBA titles since 1975.

RSA’s key move for SMB, done quietly behind the scenes, was when he gambled on getting Terrence Romeo from TNT last year.

It is almost an open secret that no one wanted to touch Romeo even with a 10-foot pole, so to speak.

“He was almost practically given to me by TNT,” said RSA of Romeo, whose mercurial temper always saw him in disagreement with even his teammates during practice and actual games.

Thus, when Romeo won MVP honors after the Finals, that was another blow to TNT.

As the saying goes, “TNT’s loss is SMB’s gain.”

The question now is, with SMB bagging both the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup, is the Governors’ Cup next in line?

With some luck again, SMB, with its immense talent seemingly never diminishing, might just do it to snap a 30-year losing drought and finally win its second Grand Slam.

All San Miguel needs again is a good import to grab the last gem in its coveted Triple Jewel dream.

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