The Magnolia Hotshots are now one win away from dethroning the four-time defending Philippine Cup Champions San Miguel Beermen. They won a bizarre Game 5, 88-86 to go up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
With a little over three minutes left in the game, the Beermen were in the tail end of a run to get back in the game. San Miguel fell behind by as much as 16 points in the first half and were battling from 13 points down in the final period. They had cut the Magnolia lead down to just six points and forced a turnover on the post entry pass.
As the Beermen turned to run back down the floor, a man in a Spider-Man costume ran into the middle of the court holding a sign that read “VOTE! LOVE!” June Mar Fajardo collided with the court rusher as play was stopped. The man, now identified as Paolo Felizarta was escorted out of the arena as the Beermen huddled around Fajardo to make sure he was okay.
The play stoppage didn’t derail San Miguel from their comeback. Fajardo came right back in the next play to score on an and-one bucket inside to cut the deficit down to just three. Christian Standhardinger and Jio Jalalon exchanged free throws to keep the Magnolia lead at three points. With 1:24 left in the game, Terrence Romeo hit a three-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 86.
Unfortunately for the Beermen, they couldn’t find the go-ahead basket. It was Mark Barroca that stuck gold.
After forcing a turnover, the Hotshots had 13 seconds to find a game-winner. Jalalon started at teh top of the key and used an Ian Sangalang screen to get to the right wing. He kicked the ball out to the Rodney Brondial at the top of the key and the Beermen defense rushed out to defend him. Brondial whipped a pass to a wide-open Barroca on the left corner.
Standhardinger rushed from the free throw line to defend Barroca in the corner. The Hotshots point guard faked a jumper and drove a step inside past Standhardinger. With two seconds left on the clock, Barroca rose up for a jumper. The ball splashed in as the buzzer sounded giving Magnolia the win.
Barroca emerged as the biggest hero in the game. He finished with a game-high 22 points and dished out five assists. Ian Sangalang scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to back up his point guard. Fajardo scored 21 points and hauled down 22 rebounds in the losing effort.