by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – Mark Barroca provided the spark in the second half and most especially in the final frame with 14 damaging points as San Mig Super Coffee clinched its 11th championship by beating Rain or Shine, 93-87, in a drama-filled Game 6 to win the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Barroca, who was named as the PBA Press Corps-Papa John’s Pizza Finals Most Valuable Player, came through with the big blows down the stretch, completing a three-point play that gave San Mig an 84-78 advantage with 2:44 left in the game.
Following a layup by Beau Belga that trimmed the deficit to 80-84, the former stalwart of Smart Gilas Pilipinas drained a three-pointer off the outstretched arm of Gabe Norwood for an 87-80 lead with two minutes to go.
The 5-foot-10 product of Far Eastern University finished with 24 points, three rebounds and five assists as San Mig won the best-of-seven series 4-2 for its sixth title in an all-Filipino conference.
Rookie center Ian Sangalang, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, also came through for the Mixers with 15 points, while former two-time MVP James Yap added 12 markers and Marc Pingris, who sustained a right eye injury in Game 4, had 12 and 11 rebounds.
The victory made Tim Cone the winningest coach in PBA history as he won his 16th title, surpassing his idol Baby Dalupan.
“It’s a little surreal at this point. People will say I surpassed Baby Dalupan, but no one will surpass Baby in coaching,” said Cone, who has steered the franchise to three championships since arriving from Alaska in 2011.
The game was marred by Rain or Shine’s attempt to stage a walkout from the match when coach Yeng Guiao led his team to the dugout with 11:39 left in the second period and San Mig ahead, 30-17, in an apparent protest over questionable calls by the referees.
With the team inside the dugout, league Commissioner Chito Salud and media bureau chief Willie Marcial spoke to team representative to the PBA board Atty. Mamerto Mondragon, and later on to co-owner Raymond Yu just outside of the team’s locker room.
Salud returned to the playing court and signaled to the timekeeper of a mandatory 15-minute grace period for the Painters to return to the court or face the possibility of automatic forfeiture of the game – and eventually the series and the championship.
Three minutes later, Rain or Shine returned to the basketball court after a 10-minute stoppage and team was assessed with a technical foul for delaying the game. Barroca converted the technical free throw to make it 31-17.
The Elasto Painters face heavy fines from the Commissioner’s Office. There are several provisions under PBA rules, including a P2 million fine if Salud decides that it is a ‘partial’ walkout while a ‘full’ walkout means the team will need to shell out a P10 million penalty.
Salud will meet today at the Commissioner’s Office Mondragon and team manager Boy Lapid.
Guiao is no stranger to doing such move. In 2006, he instigated a walkout as coach of Red Bull but returned to the floor in Game 4 of a best-of-seven semifinal against San Miguel Beer of the Philippine Cup. The team was assessed a total of P500,000 fine, including P100,000 on Guiao.
The incident also brought back memories of the infamous walkout of Anejo Rum (now Barangay Ginebra) in the 1990 First Conference finals. The 65ers of playing coach Robert Jaworski did not return to the court and forced the league to award the title to Shell via forfeiture.
Anejo was eventually fined P550,000 by the league.
Four years ago, Talk ’N Text’s head coach Chot Reyes led a walkout against Ginebra in the second period of Game 4 of their five-game Philippine Cup quarterfinal series. The Tropang Texters, who eventually lost in Game 5 against the Kings, were fined a total of R1 million.
The near-walkout failed to dampen the spirits of the Elasto Painters as they eventually pulled within 49-43 at halftime.
Rain or Shine then gained a 62-60 lead in the third on a three-pointer by Chris Tiu and entered the payoff period with a 67-66 edge.
But Sangalang and Barroca took charge in the fourth to complete Cone’s march towards history.