SAN Miguel continued its resurgence on Wednesday night, claiming a third straight win at the expense of Columbian, 129-117, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
June Mar Fajardo had 37 points and 20 rebounds for the reigning champions Beermen, who evened their record to 3-3 (win-loss) to make up for a horror start to the midseason conference.
Columbian slumped to its third straight loss to fall to 3-5, but earned a measure of respect for keeping the game close against the powerhouse Beermen for three quarters.
Renaldo Balkman had 27 points and 18 rebounds while Alex Cabagnot completed a triple-double, tallying 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists for the Beermen.
“Every time we are facing Kia (Columbian’s former name), I’m really worried because we have a history with this team,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “Even during the eliminations or tune-up games, hirap na hirap kami dito.”
This win also didn't come easy as the Beermen even trailed by three, 86-83, in the third period. But San Miguel ended the quarter with a 14-3 run to wrest control for good, 97-89.
San Miguel played without the injured Christian Standhardinger, who the Beermen selected when they traded for the No. 1 pick in last year’s PBA draft from the Columbian franchise.
Fajardo's scoring output was the fourth-best on his career, according to PBA statistics head Fidel Mangonon III.
Rashawn McCarthy and Reden Celda had 19 points each while John Fields finished with 19 in a game where he figured in a verbal spat with San Miguel’s Chris Ross during the third quarter.
San Miguel 129 – Fajardo 37, Balkman 27, Cabagnot 20, Santos 18, Ross 10, Lassiter 6, Mamaril 6, Pessumal 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Lanete 0
Columbian 117 – McCarthy 19, Fields 19, Celda 19, Ababou 14, Lastimosa 13, Camson 12, Khobuntin 9, Tubid 6, Escoto 6, Corpuz 0, Cabrera 0, King 0, Cahilig 0.
Quarters: 31-33; 69-55; 97-89; 129-117.