Fajardo nets career-high 36 points as SMB beats Kia
MANILA, Philippines — Kia simply had no answer for San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo as the Beermen rode on the reigning MVP in the second half to win, 90-74, in the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo hardly broke a sweat in the second half where he scored 26 of his career-high 36 points to tow the Beermen into a tie with the Alaska Aces in first place.
“It was a scary first three quarters for us because we know we can lose the game especially with Alaska losing to Barako Bull earlier,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria in Filipino. “I told my team that the most conditioned team in the league is Kia and we can’t just take them for granted.”
“I barely took June Mar out of the game. We didn’t want to lose because it will be an embarrassing situation for us,” Austria said.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo made his first 12 shots in the 2-point area and 13 out of his 15 total field goal attempts. He also grabbed 17 rebounds.
The Sorento managed to keep it close for three and a half quarters before Fajardo continued to lord it over the opposition.
Fajardo completed a three-point play that made it, 81-69, before laying in a gimme and draining a rare 3-pointer to the delight of his team and the fans for an 88-69 advantage with 3:36 left.
“We really went to June Mar because Kia couldn’t control him. They were hesitant to double him because of our shooters and even when they doubled him June Mar still found ways to score,” Austria added.
Marcio Lassiter posted 16 points while Chris Lutz and Ronald Pascual chipped in nine apiece for the Beermen.
Reil Cervantes paced Kia, which slumped to its seventh straight setback after winning its first game, with 16 points.
“Our goal to get into the top two is becoming clearer.”