The atmosphere was heated. Literally.
With the air conditioning broken inside the Araneta Coliseum, the already hot match-up between both teams just got hotter. But the San Miguel Beermen proved once again that they thrive under pressure. With a chance to close out the TNT KaTropa, San Miguel came out in full force to win Game 6, 102-90.
Chris McCullough continued his awesome show in the Finals. He scored 35 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Beermen. June Mar Fajardo dominated the paint with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Christian Standhardinger came off the bench to contribute 18 points and play annoying defense on Terrence Jones, who still finished with 41 points. Terrence Romeo added 10 points and seven assists.
The San Miguel defense and fatigue played a big factor in the demise of TNT’s offense in Game 6. The KaTropa managed to only hit 39% of their shots and a putrid 18% from beyond the arc. TNT managed to only make seven three-pointers in the game. San Miguel on the other hand focused their offense in the paint and scored 52% from two-point range.
The game was tight early in the first period. RR Pogoy nailed two free throws to give TNT a two-point lead with two minutes left in the first. That was their last lead of the game. Chris McCullough hit an off balance jumper and followed it up with a step-back three-pointer to give San Miguel a four-point lead. Romeo added two freebies to put the Beermen up by six. Jayson Castro cut that lead in half with a triple from the left wing but Alex Cabagnot took that right back with a trey from the top of the key. The Beermen took a seven-point lead after the first period.
In the second period, TNT’s offense took a nosedive. They only managed 16 points as their outside shot totally left them. The Beermen ran their offense through the paint with Standhardinger scoring six straight points to push the Beermen’s lead up to double figures. McCullough and Romeo joined him to push the lead up to 14 points, eventually settling for a 10-point halftime lead.
San Miguel pushed their lead to as high as 19 points in the third quarter as they continued to grind out TNT. Castro tried to lead a comeback in the fourth quarter, helping the KaTropa cut the lead down to just nine points. But Chris Ross, Fajardo and Cabagnot scored seven straight points to restore order and keep the Beermen ahead for good.
Romeo won his first Finals MVP award with a solid performance from off the bench in this series. He averaged 14.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in six games. Romeo played a crucial role in San Miguel’s Game 2 win, scoring 29 points in the game. He also sparked the Beermen in Game 5 with 22 points.