Why San Mig Coffee is Grand Slam champ
NOT to brag, but I said here last week that sans miracle, Tim Cone and San Mig Coffee were bound to bag the PBA Grand Slam.
They did because, this time, the miracle of the three-point shot deserted Rain or Shine. At the most crucial time at that.
Thrice Rain or Shine flubbed game-tying threes—through yet its tested three-point shot artists Arizona Reid, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan.
Just one of those three triples from anyone of the supposedly deadly trio was needed to send the game into overtime. Just one miracle, omigosh!
It didn’t come.
It didn’t happen.
Walang himala, as Nora Aunor said.
And yet, wasn’t it only three games ago when Reid drained a three to give Rain or Shine an 89-87 victory that leveled the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-five series at 1-1?
And, after San Mig Coffee won Game 3 to move to within a whisker of wrapping up the Grand Slam, didn’t Rain or Shine bamboozle the Mixers with a barrage of triples in Game 4 to forge a winner-take-all decider?
Alas, in Game 5, when all the so-called marbles were at stake, the Painters’ hot hands hedged history, missing one rainbow shot after another to allow the Mixers a spot in the pantheon of immortals.
With San Mig Coffee up 92-89 after terrifying successive two free-throw misses each by Mixers James Yap and Mark Barroca that made the door ajar for an overtime-sending trey, Reid, Lee and Chan would disappoint—bizarrely. And yet, as I said, shooting threes for the terrible trio was almost second nature to them.
With the victory, San Mig Coffee won the season-ending Conference to complete the coveted Triple Crown, which is the equivalent of a Grand Slam—only the fifth team after Crispa’s Slams in 1976 and 1983, San Miguel Beer’s in 1989 and Alaska’s in 1996.
Twin feats had also been recorded with San Mig Coffee’s victory.
One, San Miguel Corp. became the second company to pocket two Grand Slams after the 1989 Slam of San Miguel Beer, San Mig Coffee’s sister team.
Two, Tim Cone became the first coach to stash away two Grand Slams after he piloted Alaska to the 1996 Slam.
And three, San Mig Coffee made James Yap a Finals MVP, Yap’s second for the year after he also won the Finals MVP in the First Conference’s Commissioner’s Cup.
At the rate San Mig Coffee and the 32-year-old Yap are playing, it seems they are bound to score more victories. Already, they have strung up four straight titles, adding the 2013 Governors’ Cup. And to think that Cone is only into his third year of coaching at San Mig Coffee—and he has a total of five crowns already.
Indeed, a powerhouse lineup in San Mig Coffee plus the league’s winningest coach in Tim Cone (18 titles) can only mean unassailable success.
No miracle there.
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ALL IN I wrote this yesterday, almost 14 hours before Argentina and Germany would battle for the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Five-time champion Germany was favored because of its stunning 7-1 massacre of Brazil. Still, I picked the two-time champion Argentina to win mainly because of Pope Francis. Yes, Pope Francis is an Argentinian. An avid football fan, the Holy Father said he’d watch the game on pay-per-view. Did he ask for God’s grace to make Argentina win? I doubt. I’m sure he prayed to God to pick the most deserving of the World Cup. I still believe that the Pope, like God, doesn’t play favorites. Let’s leave it at that—for now.