MANILA - Magnolia turned back Meralco, 93-85, to grab the first finals berth of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday.
Ian Sangalang led the Hotshots with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists as they closed out their semifinal series, 4-2.
Meralco hoped to forge a decider after a 102-98 win in Wednesday's Game 5.
"They gave us a very good series. Their effort was outstanding," Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said.
The Hotshots, who trailed by asmuch as 11 points early, lost the Philippine Cup to the San Miguel Beermen in the 2017-2018 and 2019 seasons.
Earlier, San Miguel kept its title hopes alive after whipping TNT, 103-90, to force a Game 7.
Two days after the Tropang Giga put up what coach Chot Reyes described as an "excellent effort" to bludgeon the Beermen, it was the latter's turn to make one.
Marcio Lassiter tried to lead San Miguel's early breakaway by scoring three straight triples that helped open a 14-4 lead at the start of the game.
But TNT took control of the latter part of the first quarter to cut the lead down to four, 25-21, before Arwind Santos scored the buzzer-beater to extend SMB's advantage to six.
The Beermen tried to pull away again after stretching their lead to 16 early in the fourth, 46-30.
Mikey Williams capped an 8-2 Tropang Giga run with back-to-back three-pointers to trim the gap to 10, but the Beermen had the last laugh in the first half with a 5-0 run to up their lead back to 15 points, 53-38, at halftime.
SMB appeared to have pulled away from TNT after opening an 86-62 lead at the end of the third quarter, but TNT got its offensive game going in the fourth and drew to within 10 again, 88-98, with 2:44 to play.
Lassiter eventually sealed the Beermen's win with a wide-open three that hiked the lead 13 as both teams settled for an exchange of baskets in the end.
Mo Tautuaa finished with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, and one assist off the bench to lead the Beermen.
Lassiter added 19 points on 7-of-14 field goals including 5-of-8 on three-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
Jayson Castro and Ryan Reyes each tallied 16 points off the bench for the Tropang Giga, last season's runner-up to the Barangay Ginebra Kings. (PNA)
SAN MIGUEL 103 - Tautuaa 24, Lassiter 19, Romeo 16, Santos 13, Fajardo 11, Cabagnot 9, Perez 8, Ross 3, Gamalinda 0.
TNT 90 - Castro 16, Reyes 16, Erram 11, Rosario 10, M.Williams 9, Heruela 9, Pogoy 6, Montalbo 6, K. Williams 5, Khobuntin 2, Exciminiano 0, Marcelo 0, Alejandro 0.
Quarters: 27-21, 53-38, 86-62, 103-90
MAGNOLIA 93 - Sangalang 19, Dela Rosa 16, Barroca 16, Abueva 11, Jalalon 11, Melton 6, Reavis 6, Corpuz 4, Lee 4, Ahanmisi 0, Dionisio 0.
MERALCO 85 - Almazan 16, Maliksi 13, Newsome 14, Pinto 10, Hodge 9, Quinto 7, Caram 7, Hugnatan 6, Belo 3, Pasaol 0, Black 0, Jamito 0.
Quarters: 20-27, 44-40, 72-68, 93-85