PBA: San Miguel rallies past Magnolia in Game 6 to win latest title

San Miguel rallies past Magnolia in Game 6 to clinch latest PBA title

/ 10:52 PM February 14, 2024

San Miguel Beermen Magnolia Hotshots PBA Finals

CJ Perez and San Miguel Beermen celebrate their torrid comeback to beat Magnolia Hotshots in 6 games in the PBA Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–CJ Perez used a tough lashing he got from coach Jorge Gallent and delivered a performance to remember and another championship for the PBA’s last original member.

Perez recovered from an unusual first half slump and carried the San Miguel Beermen to a stunning late comeback to defeat the Magnolia Hotshots, 104-102, f0r the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


The Best Player of the Conference finished with 28 points, none bigger than two crucial plays that cemented San Miguel’s record-extending 29th title via a 4-2 series victory.


No other franchise comes close in trophy count.

At second place is sister team Barangay Ginebra with 15 titles while Magnolia is tied with the defunct Alaska franchise for third with 13. TNT, the other active member, has nine.

READ: LIVE UPDATES: PBA Finals Game 6 San Miguel vs Magnolia

Perez was named Finals Most Valuable Player by the PBA Press Corps after rebounding from a four-point first half. At one point, Perez was on the receiving end of some unkind words from Gallent as he went back to the bench.

“It’s like a father-and-son argument,” Perez told The Inquirer when asked of the exchange with Gallent. “But I know when coach Jorge does that to me, I get fired up.”

Perez and Gallent, a first-time champion as head of San Miguel Corporation’s flagship franchise, shared an embrace upon seeing each other amid dropping confetti around the Big Dome.


Leading the comeback Perez posted series averages of 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.2 steals during the six games.

Bennie Boatwright San Miguel Beermen Magnolia Hotshots PBA Finals

San Miguel’s Bennie Import in the PBA Finals Game 6 clincher. –MARLO CUETO/INQURIER.net

San Miguel got the job done despite trailing by double figures during some portions of the second half, with Perez leading the comeback.

And even if it was not a Perez basket that put the Beermen on top for good, it was his kick-out pass to Chris Ross that proved to be crucial.

Magnolia couldn’t answer on the next play and Perez then put the coup de grace with a three-pointer from the left side, 48 seconds to go, and San Miguel was ahead 103-99.

Worthy candidates

San Miguel Beermen's June Mar Fajardo.

San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

June Mar Fajardo and Jericho Cruz, both worthy Finals MVP candidates, also came through as Gallent finally got his championship in his second conference since succeeding current consultant Leo Austria.

“It feels great,” Gallent said. “Everybody worked hard for this championship, especially in this game. They didn’t give up and they wanted to win it now. They showed how composed they are, even if they’re down big.”

Fajardo had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Cruz added 12 points as he also shrugged off his own struggles and hit crucial shots during the Beermen rally.

READ: Tyler Bey: Failure to wall-in Jericho Cruz led to Hotshots defeat in Game 5

Paul Lee came off the bench to drop 25 points, his best performance after struggling through the PBA Finals.

It looked as if a three-point shot may have been enough for Magnolia to force a Game 7 as Magnolia led 98-92 with 2:28 left.

But Perez scored and Cruz knocked down a triple and San Miguel got to within one, 1:43 left. Hotshots import Tyler Bey split his two charities before Gallent called a timeout to set up the go-ahead play that saw Perez forced the defense on him in the paint before passing it to Ross for the corner triple.

READ: Unfazed Tyler Bey says Magnolia ‘didn’t respect’ San Miguel in loss

From there, San Miguel didn’t look back.

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Magnolia fell short of extending the series to a rubber match, and settled for another runner-up trophy, the fourth under coach Chito Victolero.

A first title remained elusive for the Hotshots, who last won in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.

TAGS: PBA, PBA Commissioner's Cup, San Miguel Beermen

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