SAN Miguel Beer flaunted its depth and firepower in a 102-86 pummeling of Mahindra to move closer to a semifinal berth in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The quarterfinals-assured Beermen leaned on another monster effort from June Mar Fajardo and solid contributions from their role players to cruise to their fifth straight win and seventh overall in eight games for the solo lead.
Fajardo posted 35 points, one shy of his career-high, along with 12 boards, three blocks, two assists, and one steal, while getting plenty of help from Brian Heruala, Ronald Tubid, and Jay-R Reyes, who all shone in the absence of injured Marcio Lassiter.
“I’m happy my second group stepped up,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “Hindi namin pwede biruin ang Mahindra. We don’t want to be embarrassed by this team.”
The Enforcers absorbed a sixth defeat in eight games.
Coming in averaging just 1.3 points in 6.1 minutes, Heruela had his best game in an SMB uniform as the sophomore playmaker registered 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, five boards, three assists, and three steals in 21 minutes.
It was a timely boost with Alex Cabagnot having an off game as the starting point guard was held to three points after missing all but one of his seven shots, although he did have four assists and three boards in 21 minutes.
The Beermen had so much help that Arwind Santos didn’t have to bring his A-game early as the star forward scored all his 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Aldrech Ramos scored 13 points that was good enough to lead the Enforcers in a losing effort.
SMB 102 – Fajardo 35, Heruela 14, Santos 11, Tubid 11, Reyes 10, Lutz 6, Omolon 6, Cabagnot 3, Ross 3, Mabulac 1, Arana 0, Espinas 0
MAHINDRA 86 – Ramos 13, Canaleta 12, Guinto 12, Hubalde 9, Dehesa 8, Pascual 8, Revilla 8, webb 8, Yee 4, Alvarez 2, Digregoro 2, Bagatsing 0, Laure 0, Pinto 0
Quarterscores: 14-14; 39-33; 71-52; 102-86