Fajardo tows All-Pinoy SMB past Alaska
PLAYING without an import against a truly formidable foe, the league’s most dominant local for the last three years understandably stepped up and proved more than up to the task.
June Mar Fajardo scored 37 points, had 14 rebounds and three blocks and led the Beermen to the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals after a come-from-behind 106-103 victory over Alaska last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo scored 16 of his total in the fourth, including the last four that put the game away as the Beermen improved to 5-2 and climbed into a tie with idle sister team Barangay Ginebra and surprising Mahindra for second place.
Alex Cabagnot drained two straight triples that gave the Beermen a 102-99 lead, completing a comeback from 11 points down and sealing Alaska’s fifth loss in seven games.
LeDontae Henton, Alaska’s southpaw import, forged the game’s last tie at 103 with a jumper from deep left corner and finished with 45 points for the Aces. But his potential game-tying three-pointer was blocked cleanly by Chris Ross with about three seconds left.
Arizona Reid sat out the game for the Beermen because of a leg injury, but his 34.7-point per game average was plugged by Fajardo. A replacement for Reid, plus an Asian import, is set to arrive tomorrow.
“This was a huge, huge game for us,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said. “Good thing playing without an import is that every player is challenged.”
Rookie Baser Amer scored seven points of the last 13 Meralco points as the Bolts forged a 101-95 nipping of NLEX in the first game.
MERALCO 101—Durham 31, Hodge 17, Dillinger 12, Nabong 12, Newsome 12, Faundo 10, Amer 7, Buenafe 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.
NLEX 95—Walker 38, Anthony 13, Monfort 12, Taulava 10, Khobuntin 8, Baracael 4, Akl 3, Arboleda 3, Alas 2, Reyes 2, Soyud 0, Villanueva E. 0.
Quarters: 22-19, 44-36, 70-66, 101-95
SAN MIGUEL 106—Fajardo 37, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 12, Santos 11, Reyes 10, David 5, Ross 5, Arana 4, Tubid 3, De Ocampo 2, Semerad 0.
ALASKA 103—Henton 45, Abueva 15, Casio 13, Jazul 11, Baclao 6, Banchero 5, Thoss 4, Hontiveros 3, Racal 1, Exciminiano 0, Magat 0, Menk 0.
Quarters: 27-23, 51-46, 72-80, 106-103
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