SAN Miguel Beer snapped out of an unlikely slump on Wednesday night, running away with a 93-79 victory over Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
June Mar Fajardo compiled 20 points, 21 rebounds, and four blocks while Alex Cabagnot had 19 points in his first game back from nose surgery as the Beermen ended a two-game losing streak to climb back to .500 at 3-3.
Terrence Romeo also contributed to San Miguel’s cause with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists as the former UAAP MVP finally won his first game in a Beermen uniform since being acquired in a trade with TNT KaTropa.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said the team has this early been motivated to play with a sense of urgency in a bid to be in the top two spots at the end of the eliminations and gain twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“This win will serve as a morale-booster for us. Every game for us is very important,” said Austria, who is looking ahead to a game against Magnolia on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s Philippine Cup Finals.
San Miguel was up by only three, 44-41, at halftime even if Fajardo already had 10 points and 14 rebounds to his name.
But five points from Cabagnot late in the third enabled the Beermen to grab a 74-64 lead. Another 11-0 run that saw Cabagnot score seven points against his former ward at University of the Philippines Paul Desiderio made it 87-66.
Roi Sumang compiled 17 points, five rebounds, and six assists, while Mike DiGregorio had 14 points. Allein Maliksi had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Blackwater, which lost its second straight game and fell to 1-4.
San Miguel (93) – Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Romeo 17, Ross 14, Nabong 7, Lassiter 6, Santos 4, Lanete 2, Tubid 2, De Ocampo 2, Mamaril 0, Vigil 0, Zamar 0.
Blackwater (79) – Sumang 17, DiGregorio 14, Maliksi 13, Tratter 9, Javier 9, Belo 8, Desiderio 4, Eriobu 4, Banal 1, Cortez 0, Dario 0, Sena 0, Palma 0.
Quarters: 19-21; 44-41; 74-64; 93-79.