For the second time in league history, the best-of-seven finals went the full distance. The San Miguel Beermen took the title in a classic seven-game series, denying the Purefoods Hotdogs a Cinderella finish in its maiden season in the PBA.
San Miguel took advantage of the Hotdogs' sluggish start, led 27-11 early, padded their lead to as much as 23 points at 51-28 in the second quarter, and 62-47 at halftime, Purefoods rally to within was six points, 86-80, barely a minute into the fourth period.
After allowing the beermen to score lots of points in the series opener, the hotdogs put up a tough, defensive stand to limit San Miguel's output, despite the game being close in the final period, David Thirdkill's turnaround jumper with the score, 105-101 for Purefoods, sealed the win for the hotdogs with less than 30 seconds remaining in the ballgame.
Rookie Jojo Lastimosa put on a show as he led Purefoods to a 22-4 blitz that turn an 84-74 San Miguel lead to a 96-88 Purefoods win, back-to-back triples by Lastimosa and Al Solis pushed the Hotdogs to within four, 80-84, San Miguel was up, 88-85, when Purefoods called a timeout, eleven unanswered points by the Hotdogs followed with Lastimosa's three-point play gave them a 90-88 lead.
Purefoods had overtaken San Miguel by two points, 88-86, going into the last minute of play, with Jojo Lastimosa instrumental in another fourth quarter Purefoods' comeback, the hotdogs committed tactical lapses after the beermen regained the upperhand at 89-88, instead of directing Jojo Lastimosa to go one-on-one and capitalized on the beermen's penalty situation, it was Purefoods import David Thirdkill who tried to force his shots, missing three times, San Miguel put on a 7-0 finishing run to level the series at 2 games apiece, after only 29 points in Game 3, David Thirdkill could only tally 18 points for the hotdogs.
Veterans Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben got into several ugly plays early, Purefoods was on top by 16, 80-64 after three quarters, but the beermen threatened twice in the final period, the last at 95-94 when Jojo Lastimosa hit a three-point shot, and another two points by Purefoods gave them a six-point edge at 100-94.
Both teams were tied at 42-all at halftime, the beermen outscored the hotdogs by 17 points in the third quarter to lead, 77-60 going into the last 12 minutes, Purefoods' Al Solis keep the hotdogs into the thick of the fight with booming triples, including three straight midway in the fourth, San Miguel answered every baskets Purefoods made to force a decisive seventh game.
Before a capacity crowd of more than 12,000 at the ULTRA in the deciding Game 7, San Miguel open the third quarter with six straight points to take the biggest lead for the night at 53-44, the hotdogs, on the heroics of Al Solis keeps coming back, Purefoods last tasted the lead at 73-71 early in the fourth period, an 8-0 blast by the beermen gave them a six-point edge at 79-73, with the score standing at 88-80 for San Miguel, Al Solis drained his fifth triple that started an 8-2 run for the hotdogs to come within two points, 88-90, with only 11 seconds remaining, Purefoods playing coach Ramon Fernandez was called for his sixth and final foul off Ricardo Brown, San Miguel leading, 92-90, Brown converted his two free throws to give the beermen a four point edge, 94-90, showing championship composure all night long, San Miguel eked out a 94-92 win in the seventh and final game of the series, Abet Guidaben had a truly big seventh game with 28 points, Norman Black came up with 38 points and held Purefoods import David Thirdkill to a measly 16 points in the final game, the lowest in his entire playing career in the PBA, Ricardo Brown scored only nine points but his two crucial free throws off the sixth foul of Ramon Fernandez iced the game for the beermen, On Purefoods' side, it was Al Solis who shone bright and emerged as his team's best local scorer with an average of 16.1 points in that seven-game stretch, Solis topscored for the hotdogs in the seventh game with 23 points, shooting an amazing 71 percent from the three-point range on five-of-seven shooting.
Just before Game 7, PBA Commissioner Rudy Salud summoned Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben for separate offenses in Games 5 and 6, Fernandez was taken to task for not just blaming the referees but accusing them of favoring Purefoods' opponent- San Miguel Beer, while Guidaben was summoned for his reaction at the endgame elbow thrown at him by Fernandez in Game 6 but also his behavior in Game 5. both were fined by the Commissioner's Office.