The first finals of the 2017-2018 PBA season will begin on Friday when San Miguel and Magnolia tip off Game 1 at the Araneta Coliseum. With the amount of talent and star power on both teams, it’s hard to imagine this 7-game Philippine Cup final series not being a classic.
If you’ve been watching the PBA over the past few years, I’m sure you noticed how a lot of the championship round matchups have delivered countless memories. We take a look back at some of those moments and rank the top eight:[/whole] [/row]
Rain or Shine finally gets over the hump
When the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters beat the Alaska Aces in Game 6 of the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup Finals, it ended a four-year title dry spell for the proud franchise.
Following numerous heartbreaking defeats in the semis and finals, Rain or Shine finally got the job done against the Aces by dominating from outside in the sixth game. The win awarded Yeng Guiao his seventh championship, with Paul Lee winning Finals MVP.
We’re ending this now
Talk ‘N Text was a dominant team during the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup tournament. The Texters went 9-0 in the elimination round and then swept both the quarters and semis en route to the finals. Unfortunately for them, they ran into a team who had a date with destiny.
In the best-of-5 Finals series, SMC (now Magnolia) took a 2-1 lead after the first three games. TNT then built a double-digit lead in the early goings of Game 4 at the PhilSports Arena, but the Tim Cone-coached Coffee Mixers rallied to make it a close game late. Down the stretch, Mark Barroca and James Yap delivered to get their team one step closer to a Grand Slam.
Grinding out the title
San Miguel is aiming for a fourth straight Philippine Cup title against Magnolia this conference. The first championship of that run started in 2015, when the Beermen outlasted the Aces in a classic 7-game series.
After blowing a 23-point lead, the Beermen found themselves trailing late in game seven until Arwind Santos came to the rescue. JVee Casio had a chance to win it for Alaska at the buzzer, but he badly missed his game-winner. The series win gave SMB its first All-Filipino championship since 2001.
Sweep? Not so fast
Alaska and San Miguel faced again a year later in the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals. With league MVP June Mar Fajardo sidelined, the Beermen were facing a tough challenge and fell behind 0-3 in the series. In game four, Alaska looked in perfect position to complete the sweep by building an 11-point lead with 3:31 to go.
The Beermen, however, mounted a 16-2 run and were able to complete the victory in overtime. Although the series lead for Alaska was still a dominant 3-1 following the match, history was already in the making.