JUNE Mar Fajardo regained the support he badly needed from teammates as San Miguel Beer romped to a 105-92 victory over shorthanded Rain or Shine to put their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on level terms anew on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The SMB superstar scattered 33 points – already his lowest output this series – but found significant contribution from the rest of the squad particularly Arwind Santos to roll to the blowout victory that turned the series into a best-of-three affair.
Game Five is on Wednesday, also at the Big Dome.
Santos, who had 12 points on 17 shots in Game Three, registered 19 points on 16 attempts in 35 minutes this time for the Beermen, who leaned on a great start before broke away in the third quarter.
“We’re able to solve our first quarter kasi usually bad start kami,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “We controlled the tempo.
“Nagkaroon sila ng sense of urgency,” added the mild-mannered champion coach, who had warned his wards of getting angry after their Game Three loss.
Marcio Lassiter buried all his four three-point attempts to finish with 20 markers, while playmakers Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The game was tied at 61 midway through the third canto when the Beermen embarked on a back-breaking 23-3 salvo that put them on top, 84-62, which proved enough cushion to negate a late rally by the Painters, who were missing two key players in Jericho Cruz and Raymond Almazan.
The Painters also missed Paul Lee in the fourth quarter after the ROS star fouled out with only 2.7 seconds left in the third following a blocking foul on Gabby Espinas.
In all, the Beermen outscored the Painters, 37-22, in the third, which ended with them leading 80-68.
The Painters tried to come back in the payoff period, but came no closer than 11 points.
Rookies Maverick Ahanmisi and Don Trollano took most of the cudgels in the absence of the sophomore Cruz with a team-high 15 points apiece.
SMB 105 – Fajardo 33, Lassiter 20, Santos 19, Ross 13, Cabagnot 12, Tubid 5, Espinas 3, Arana 0, Lutz 0, Omolon 0
ROS 92 – Ahanmisi 15, Trollano 15, Ponferada 13, Quinahan 12, Lee 10, Tiu 8, Chan 7, Norwood 6, Belga 4, Ibanes 2
Quarterscores: 28-25, 53-46, 90-68, 105-92