BEERMEN  HACK  OUT  AMAZING  ESCAPE  ACT  VS  COCA COLA,  102-101

MANILA, JUNE 11, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - San Miguel pulled off one of the biggest steals in PBA history last night, wiping out a four-point deficit in the final 12.3 seconds and shocking Coca-Cola, 102-101, to gain the last slot in the Talk n Text Fiesta Cup quarterfinals.

The Beermen did a Houdini act with a five-point binge from Galen Young in the closing seconds, grabbing a won ballgame from Tigers’ hands as they stunned the crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.

Young pounced on the Tigers’ grievous errors at the finish and the Beermen advanced to the quarterfinals against the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

The next round begins Wednesday with Air21 and Talk n Text pitted in the other best-of-three quarters pairing.

The Tigers have joined the Purefoods Giants, the Sta. Lucia Realtors and the Welcoat Dragons in the sidelines after suffering what’s probably the bitterest loss in franchise history.

In a scene bringing back to mind the U/Tex-Toyota finale in the 1980 Open Conference, the Tigers and the Coke gallery had started to celebrate after they went up by four at 101-97 on a charity by Rashad Bell with only 12.3 seconds to go.

Alas, John Arigo committed a travelling violation and the Tigers had two defensive breakdowns, allowing the Beermen to steal the game.

Back in the 1980 Open Conference deciding Game Five, the U/Tex Wranglers also overcame a four-point deficit in the last 16 seconds, beating Toyota in overtime to win the crown.

“I was thinking to just extend the clock and see what happens. Nag-cross na sa isip ko na talo na kami,” said San Miguel coach Siot Tanquingcen.

“Sometimes, it’s really better to be lucky than to be good. We’re so lucky tonight,” Tanquingcen added.

After Arigo committed a travelling violation with San Miguel down, 99-101, with 7.7 ticks to go, Young drove through a phalanx of San Miguel defender to tie the count.

With an accompanying free throw off a foul by Chester Tolomia, Young showed nerves of steel and completed a three-point play to make it 102-101 with 2.7 seconds left.

Having used all their timeouts, the Tigers didn’t have a chance to map out a final offensive thrust. Alex Cabagnot threw a prayer of a shot that went awry, sending the Beermen to a frenzied celebration.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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