21 and 13

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Due to its victory in the just concluded 2015 Governor’s Cup, the San Miguel franchise just padded their lead in terms of championships won to eight as their latest title is their 21st in Philippine Basketball Association history. Among the runner-ups actually is its victim, the Alaska Aces, with 13. They are tied with the Purefoods Hotshots and the defunct Crispa franchise.

One might think that it, of course, helps that the Beermen are the only remnants of the original members of the league from its inception in 1975. Well, actually it is not too much of help. The Beermen were lousy in their early years. Before 1986, the year Alaska joined the league, they could just come up with two titles, one as Royal Tru-Orange in 1979 and another as San Miguel in 1982. The Beermen got their third title in the 1987 Reinforced Conference, downing Hills Bros Coffee, which was the name carried then by the Alaska franchise.

Both franchises were actually already established as contenders at the time they are making a run at the crown given that Crispa and Toyota dominated the league’s early years. And these two are amongst the most successful ran teams so far. Proof of it is their grandslam wins.

The Beermen pulled the trick in 1989 with 4-time MVP Ramon Fernandez, Ricardo Brown, Hector Calma, Samboy Lim, Elmer Reyes and Alvin Teng as the anchors and Norman Black as their coach and playing coach at times. This slam solidified themselves as the new powerhouse of the league then, taking over from the defunct Great Taste franchise.

The Milkmen got theirs in 1996. The team then starred Fourth Quarter Man Jojo Lastimosa, Johnny Abbarientos, Bong Hawkins, Jeffrey Cariaso, and Edward Junio on the hardcourt and Tim Cone in the sidelines. It also featured the solidification of a system that would remain to be formidable to this day, the triangle offense.

In an uncanny similarity, both teams ushered their slam in similar fashion. San Miguel started their quest by taking the last conference the year before, downing Shell in the 1988 Reinforced Conference, to welcome their banner year in 1989. Alaska did the same, squeezing Sunkist in the 1995 Governor’s Cup to as a red carpet to their 1996 success.

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