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Freeman tows Beermen to record 18th PBA crown

July 17, 2009 10:39pm

MANILA, Philippines – In the end, it all came to San Miguel being the team with more depth and firepower.
San Miguel coach Siot Tanquincen is given a victory ride by assistant coaches Pido Jarencio, left, and Freddie Abuda as team manager Hector Calma looks on after SMB's Game 7 win over Ginebra in the Motolite-PBA Fiesta Conference Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum. - GMANews.TV

Gabe Freemen lived up to his billing as the league’s best import as he lifted San Miguel Beer to a 90-79 win over Barangay Ginebra and clinched the Motolite-PBA Fiesta Conference title in front of 20,541 screaming fans Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, winning the last two games of the contest and beating the Kings in a Game 7 where their defense was superbly dynamic.

San Miguel, which claimed its 18th title in the league, held import David Noel to his worst performance in the Finals with only eight points on a terrible 3-of- 11 shooting from the field, including 0-of-5 from rainbow country.

Ginebra was likewise limited to only three conversions from downtown, the area of the game the Gin Kings had always tried to live by but unfortunately missing Friday night.

Freeman and the rest of his teammates closed out the game jumping in unison at center-court as the waning seconds of the match ticked away and then rushed toward their bench to hug the coaching staff led by Siot Tanquingcen, who has once more defeated Jong Uichico in a series to extend his mastery over his former mentor to 4-0.

Tanquingcen collected his third title as head coach, but only his first with San Miguel. His two previous ironically came with Ginebra, leading the most popular team to two Fiesta Conference titles in 2004-05.

He likewise remained undefeated in the Finals, which now stands at 3-0.

“I would like to thank God for us winning this championship. It’s always been tough facing a team that never says die," said Tanquingcen. “But with San Miguel, with its history, we showed our pride. “

Jonas Villanueva was named as the PBA Press Corps Fern-C Finals MVP. He collected 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He also averaged 11 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the series.

Marc Pingris added 12 points and Danny Ildefonso had 10 for the Beermen, who forced Ginebra to commit 21 turnovers.

Helterbrand, the season MVP, led the Gin Kings with 25 points while Erik Menk contributed 12 and Ronald Tubid added 10.

San Miguel started strong and then stood tough the rest of the way. The Beermen led by as many as 17 points, 59-42 with 6:22 left in the third quarter.

And every time Ginebra tried to come to within striking distance, San Miguel Beer always had the perfect answer.

Twice, the Kings came to within seven in the fourth quarter. And twice, they were frustrated, the last one done by Freeman who pulled down one of his seven offensive rebounds for a put-back to complete a 3-point play as San Miguel took a 79-69 lead .

With the loss, Ginebra failed in its drive to become the first team to defend a title since Red Bull won back-to-back Commissioner’s Cup championships in 2001 and 2002. – GMANews.TV
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