San Miguel’s quest for a sweep of the three crowns of the PBA’s 44th season gained more steam just moments after the Beermen reclaimed the Commissioner’s Cup title via 4-2 Finals series win over TNT.
The flagship team of the SMC group earlier won its 5th consecutive Philippine Cup crown to jumpstart the season and then followed it up with the conquest of the mid-season conference to set the stage for a rare Grand Slam feat which was last achieved by the Magnolia Hotshots, then known as the San Mig Coffee Mixers, in 2014.
The Beermen were actually the third team in the history of the league to accomplish the feat having won the triple-crown in 1989 after the legendary Crispa Redmanizers did the trick twice, in 1976 and then in 1983.
“Wala nang pupuntahan kami kung hindi doon,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria shortly after his team claimed the 2nd jewel of the ongoing season.
“We’re targeting another championship. Double purpose ito dahil once makuha namin yung championship sa third conference, siguro mababalato na sa amin yung grand slam,” added the 8-time PBA champion mentor.
The team actually came tantalizingly close to achieving the feat two seasons ago but were eliminated by the Justin Brownlee-powered Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinal round of the Governors’ Cup.
This time, however, Austria is hoping for a different result in the team’s renewed quest for glory.
“A lot of teams are really competitive. And we’re always the target of these teams in the PBA. It would really be an honor kung makukuha namin ito because they are really longing for this grand slam.”