JUNE Mar Fajardo regained his shooting touch on Wednesday night, helping San Miguel put away Magnolia, 114-98, in Game Four and bring the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals back to square one.
On a night when he received another Best Player of the Conference trophy, Fajardo threw his weight around by finishing with 31 points and 14 rebounds in the victory that tied the best-of-seven championship series at 2-2.
Fajardo was coming off a spotty Game Three performance where he finished with 17 markers but had to earn every basket after going 4-of-11 from the field.
This time, Fajardo only missed one of his 14 shots, and also went 5-of-6 from the free throw line as he justified the sixth BPC trophy of his career which he received before Game Four.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said the victory was a total team effort, but recognized that Fajardo's aggressiveness inside led to open shots for the Beermen's shooters.
“This is the kind of game we are a looking for,” said Austria. “From start to finish, we were able to sustain our energy. It’s a matter of effort and we were able to score a lot in the shaded area. That’s the time na nakaka-shoot ‘yung players namin from the perimeter unlike in our last game.”
Terrence Romeo also had a big game embellished with 18 points while Chris Ross added 15 points on a night when the Beermen shot 52 percent from the field.
Fajardo started the third quarter with a three-point play as the lead swelled to double digits or the first time, 61-47. The Beermen also responded to every Magnolia run in the second half, with the lead reaching as high as 17 at 99-82.
Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca each had 22 points for the Hotshots, who now will have to make the necessary adjustments heading to Game Five on Friday, also at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel 114 – Fajardo 31, Romeo 18, Ross 15, Standhardinger 13, Santos 12, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 6, Pessumal 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Nabong 2.
Magnolia 98 – Jalalon 22, Barroca 22, Sangalang 19, Reavis 9, Lee 7, Herndon 6, Dela Rosa 5, Calisaan 4, Melton 2, Brondial 2, Ramos 0, Pascual 0.
Quarters: 25-27; 54-47; 87-77; 114-98.