Four games into the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals and fans have already had their fill of high drama and down-to-the-wire ball games. The series has featured multiple double-digit leads that were erased quickly, two overtimes, and a bunch of heroic performances from players from both camps. With the series tied at two wins apiece, the winner of Game 5 will have the distinct edge of winning it all.
Historically, the PBA has seen its fair share of classics in what people call "the turn game."
The NBA also has its classics: a game often referred to as the greatest of all time with the Boston Celtics outlasting the Phoenix Suns in triple overtime, "The Microwave" Vinnie Johnson heating up and scoring on a championship-winning jumper for Detroit, Michael Jordan's Flu Game in 1997, and Robert Horry hitting one of the many big shots of his career to help the San Antonio Spurs win the title over the Detroit Pistons in 2005.
Here are the five epic Game 5s in the PBA Finals in recent memory.
2008-09 Philippine Cup: Alaska 95, Talk 'N Text 93
Mac Cardona had an epic fourth-quarter performance for TNT as he scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. However, this explosion would not be enough to topple Alaska. Best Player of the Conference Willie Miller, who committed two untimely errors beforehand, atoned for these mistakes by sinking a triple with only 8.7 seconds left in the game.
The Chot Reyes-coached team had one last try to counter but Renren Ritualo missed on his game-winning attempt. The setback, though, proved to be temporary as the Tropang Texters won Games 6 and 7 to win their third franchise championship after the 1998 Centennial (as Mobiline) and the 2003 All-Filipino competitions.
2010 Fiesta Conference: San Miguel Beer 96, Alaska 94
Denok Miranda made a big basket just before the two-minute warning to extend SMB's lead 96-90. However, Cyrus Baguio countered with a three-point conversion on the other end to make it a one-possession game. Diamon Simpson inched Alaska closer with a split from the free-throw line.
The Beermen went for the knockout blow but they could not score a basket as misses from Jay Washington and Arwind Santos left the door open for an Alaska comeback. The Aces went for the win with 2.2 seconds remaining but Baguio left his three-point attempt a little short.
The Beermen overcame Simpson's huge double-double with 29 points and 18 rebounds to inch closer in the series now only down 3-2. However, they ran out of steam in Game 6 as they succumbed to the Aces 102-88.
2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup: Ginebra 87, San Miguel Beer 83
The first four games of this series all turned out to be blowouts with the average winning margin at a whopping 30.3 points per game. PBA fans were finally treated to an exhilarating finish in Game 5.
The San Miguel Beermen were up by three points, 83-80, with 67.9 seconds remaining in the fourth. Scottie Thompson drew a shooting foul from June Mar Fajardo, sending him to the stripe for two.
Fajardo also drew a foul on the next possession but the MVP uncharacteristically missed both. The breaks of the game went to Ginebra as Arwind Santos swooped in for an offensive rebound but threw the ball out of bounds to the sidelines. The referees failed to see that Thompson was out of bounds when he was holding the ball.
Thompson then took the lead for Ginebra with a banker off a Justin Brownlee pass and then went on to complete his heroics with a fast-break layup off a set-up pass from Joe Devance.
San Miguel Beer had two opportunities to tie the contest but Chris Ross and Arwind Santos missed both attempts with another one waived off for Ross as he stepped on the sideline. Ginebra went on to win Game 6 via blowout to take the crown away from the Beermen.
2018 PBA Governors' Cup: Magnolia 77, Alaska 76
Magnolia looked comfortably ahead in the low-scoring matchup as they were in control of the game up until the midway mark of the fourth. However, the Aces showed fight as they clawed their way back into the ball game to take a 76-74 lead. After a mad scramble for the loose ball with only 30 seconds remaining in the game, Alaska looked primed to put the contest away and tie the Finals series at two wins apiece.
They had a 3-on-1 fast break opportunity with Kevin Racal getting a clean look at the basket in the shaded area. He missed the shot after a late challenge from Paul Lee but Jake Pascual grabbed the offensive rebound. The big man then immediately tried to put it back in but his momentum left him a little off-balanced, putting up a left-handed shot which he also missed.
With three players basically in the shaded area for Alaska, the strength in offense turned quickly into a disadvantage on defense as Lee found Ian Sangalang who scored on a three-point play.
The Aces retook the lead as Mike Harris converted on two free throws off a Rafi Reavis foul, but the Hotshots had one more answer left. Romeo Travis drove baseline but his shot was rejected by Harris. With four seconds remaining, Lee grabbed the offensive rebound and sank a mid-range jumper to push the Hotshots ahead with 0.6 left.
Harris attempted a shot at the buzzer but it fell short as Magnolia proceeded to win Games 5 and 6 of the series for their first title in the post-Tim Cone era.
2019 Philippine Cup: Magnolia 88, San Miguel Beer 86
With 1:18 seconds remaining in the fourth, the San Miguel Beermen found themselves down by three points, 86-83. Terrence Romeo, who was then still in search of his first-ever PBA title, received a skip pass from June Mar Fajardo off a soft double. Romeo stepped in and nailed the big shot, which was, at that point, the most important of his career.
Both teams could not find the bottom of the net until the final possession of the ball game.
Magnolia ran a play with Sangalang and Rodney Brondial as the screeners and Jio Jalalon as the ball handler to force the defense of Fajardo to step out. Christian Standhardinger, Brondial's man, decided to trap Jalalon who saw it coming. The guard then dished it out to Brondial forcing Chris Ross to rotate to him.
With three seconds remaining, Brondial located Mark Barroca in the corner. He faked the three and continued to a one-dribble pull-up jumper for a walk-off game-winner.
Unfortunately for the Hotshots, the 3-2 series advantage was still not enough to halt the dominance of the Beermen in the Philippine Cup as they lost Games 6 and 7.