MANILA, Philippines — Fans went wild at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday (July 8) as the Milkmen served the Beermen their first taste of defeat at the conclusion of UNTV Cup Off PBA Legends off-season games.
Even the Legends themselves were amazed to feel their old aggressive self coming back to life just like the good old days as they hit the hardcourt.
“Believe it or not, iyong intensity noong nasa dulo (the intensity through the end of the game) it felt like the 90s again,” exclaimed Alaska’s Jojo “Mr. Clutchman” Lastimosa.
“So it was just like going back in time for the times. We were here 20 years ago, 25 years ago, the feeling was the same although a bit slower but the competition was there, the intensity was there,” he said.
“Sa totoo lang na-miss ko din talaga (Honestly, I missed [playing] so much),” said Kiko Adriano of San Miguel.
“The last time I played siguro 2008. Ito talaga ang ano ng player, iyong pride (This is the pride of a player) although medyo lack kami duon sa players pero up to the last na oras talagang laban pa rin (though we lack players but up to the last hour we continued fighting),” he said.
Basketball fans couldn’t sit still as they watch and shout to the breathtaking exchanges of double and triple shots, minute after minute of the game.
Indeed, a classic match they missed for decades.
Marlon Pangan is from a family of Ginebra die-hard fans. He made sure to witness the comeback of his idol Bal David into the hardcourt as he flaunted an old jersey of David like it was his ‘lucky charm.’
“Since 1994, inabutan ko talaga yung kalakasan nila (Since 1994, I’ve seen them when they were at the peak of their career) – Bal David, Marlo Aquino, Noli Locsin. Natutuwa ako kasi nandito kami. Hanggang ngayon, sinusuportahan pa rin namin mga games nila (I am happy that until now, we’re still here, supporting their games),” he said.
Alaska supporter Jeon Yantada goes all-out for his idol Willie “The Thriller” Miller.
“Parang bumagal na siya lumaki na pero yung tira niya sa labas parang (Stephen) Curry. Hindi naman nagbabago (He seemed to have slowed down a bit but his shots were like Stephen Curry’s. Nothing changed),” the Alaska die-hard fan said.
“Nanonood ako ng PBA kapag may San Miguel fight lang. Nag-cheer ako even pumusta ko sa kanila (I watch PBA only when San Miguel fights. I cheered for them and even placed a bet on them),” said Allan Bernales of his favorite team San Miguel.
It was an intense one hour inside the Big Dome as Alaska Aces hit the hardcourt with a vengeance against the strong San Miguel Beermen who defeated them in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game with only seven points, 96-83.
The Beermen started strong in the first quarter, leading the ball game with two points, 21-19.
But the Milkmen was also up for the win and led the second quarter with a three-point advantage, 37-34, thanks to Willie “the Thriller” Miller’s 10 points contribution.
San Miguel again dominated the third quarter with an 8-point lead after Chris Calaguio fired four three-point shots, 60-52.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos displayed his ‘deadly crossover moves’, pushing Alaska closer to lead, 70-68.
There was non-stop intensity as John Ferriols added a free throw and Eddie Laure jumped for two.
The Milkmen finally scored ahead of the Beermen, 71-70 as both teams went neck and neck, scoring tied twice at 71 and 72.
At the final one minute and 42 seconds, the Beermen had the chance to win the game when Kiko Adriano stole the ball and attempted a shot but missed.
At 1:03, Miller fired a three-point shot but Allan Caidic couldn’t just watch so “the Triggerman” delivered his ‘shooting touch’ of three, bringing the score to a third tie at 75.
The last 46 seconds of the ball game brought out the best of both teams.
Abarrientos ended the showdown with a final lay up during the remaining 12 seconds, securing Alaska’s championship title, 77-75, while fans singing “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska!” (Nothing can beat Alaska!)
Battle for 3rd: Ginebra vs. Purefoods
Crowd-favorite Ginebra and Purefoods battle for the third place prior to the championship game.
The Gin Kings toppled the Hotdogs in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game, 97-89.
But it was a complete turn-around as the Hotdogs emerged victorious after defeating the Gin Kings and secured the third spot in the PBA Legends Face Off, 98-75.
Six players from Purefoods contributed double-digit scores – Roger Yap (20); Alvin Patrimonio (16); Tony Boy Espinosa (14); Glenn Capacio (13); Dwight Lago (10) and Jerry Codinera (10).
Meanwhile, leading Ginebra with high scores were Bennett Palad (16); Mike Orquillas (14); and Bal David (11).
The Legends have nothing but praises to the one-of-a-kind charity basketball game organized by UNTV president and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon in cooperation with the PBA Legends Foundation chaired by former Crispa star Atoy Co.
“Congratulations to everybody. Siyempre giving back to the fans din ito, (Of course, this is also giving back to the fans,)” exclaimed Alvin ‘the Captain’ Patrimonio.
“Natutuwa ako sa mga fans kasi grabe yung cheers nila sa amin (I’m amazed with the way the fans cheered for us, so lively),“ he said.
“Congratulations to UNTV for making this event possible. We were very, very thankful hindi lang doon sa mga Legends na naglalaro kundi sa purpose nito (not only to the Legends who played but for the purpose of this game)– to help the Legends,” thanked Purefoods Bong ‘The Raven’ Ravena.
“Aside for the win this is for all the fans. Makabalik man lang kami sa kanila kahit maliit na kasayahan. Malaking bagay sa amin iyon (To give back to them and to be able to make them happy, that means a lot to us),” he added.
“Sana tuloy-tuloy pa at marami pang (ganitong) event (I hope for more of this event in the future). Thank you and all the best. More power Kuya Daniel and sa UNTV,” concluded Ginebra’s Bal ‘The Flash’ David.
The host UNTV has given the four teams P2-M which they donated to the PBA Legends Foundation. – with details from Bernard Dadis