JUNE Mar Fajardo got the last say in a gigantic battle with Greg Slaughter, making the baskets that mattered in the endgame as San Miguel Beer held off a Ginebra fightback, 79-77, in a thrilling PBA Philippine Cup game on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-10 Fajardo hit the undergoal stab off Slaughter that broke the final deadlock at 72-all with 24.1 seconds to go then scored the game's final point on a free throw as San Miguel gallantly held on in the face of a torrid Ginebra comeback from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit.
The reigning league MVP finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and four shotblocks for his sixth double-double in as many games as the Beermen improved to 5-1 (win-loss), just half a game behind unbeaten league leader Alaska.
“Pagod na pagod kami dahil we were preparing for this game for the last three days. It’s a good start for us dahil ang goal namin is the top two. And I’m happy with the players because they stepped up. Sumagot sila sa challenge,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
Ginebra's second loss in seven games put to naught a brave rally from 51-66 down that had the big crowd at the Big Dome on the edge of their seats in the endgame.
Jayjay Helterbrand pumped life into Ginebra with a three-pointer and a jumper before Slaughter took over, completing a three-point play and a jumper that tied the count at 72-all.
After Fajardo put SMB back in the lead, Ginebra was left to rue a Japeth Aguilar miss off a perfectly executed high-low alley-oop play, the ball slipping from his grasp as he went for a two-handed dunk.
Four free throws by Arwind Santos and one by Fajardo kept Ginebra at bay in the endgame.
Arwind Santos led the Beermen in scoring with 22 points while Chris Lutz added 10 markers. Rookie Ronald Pascual added seven points including a clutch three-pointer off a broken play at the height of the Gin Kings' comeback.
Slaughter finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds while Aguilar added 15 for Ginebra.
San Miguel (79) – Santos 22, Fajardo 21, Lutz 10, Pascual 7, Tubid 6, Chua 4, Ross 3, Lassiter 3, Mercado 2, Maierhofer 1, Semerad 0, Fortuna 0, Omolon 0.
Barangay Ginebra (77) – Slaughter 16, Aguilar 15, Tenorio 10, Helterbrand 10, Caguioa 7, Ellis 6, Mamaril 3, Urbiztondo 3, Yeo 3, Reyes 2, Brondial 2, Baracael 0.
Quarters: 14-17, 38-33, 61-49, 79-77.