JUNE Mar Fajardo threw his weight around while Reggie Williams and Chris Ross delivered the knockout blows in the end as San Miguel Beer slipped past a tough Rain or Shine side, 97-92 for its first victory in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen wasted a 12-point lead in the first half and allowed the Elasto Painters to seize the lead at 76-71 in the third period, but Fajardo and Williams combined in a late push that turned the match around.
But San Miguel wisely turned to Fajardo, who scored a career-high 28 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and sent Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan to the showers one after the other on fouls.
Williams then drained a three-pointer while Ross scored on a quick spin move off Jeff Chan’s defense to give San Miguel a 93-87 lead heading to the final one minutes and 41 seconds of the match.
Rain or Shine crept within 93-90 on a basket by Larry Rodriguez, but Ross sank a pair of foul shots on the other end to keep the Elasto Painters winless after two games in the season-ending conference.
The 6-10 Fajardo, the leading MVP candidate this season, earned Best Player of the game honors.
“It feels really good to get a win, especially against a well-coached team like Rain or Shine,” said San Miguel Beer active consultant Todd Purves, whose team bounced back from a 93-86 loss to Alaska on opening day.
Ross, who finished with just four points, made big contributions in other departments after finishing with 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals in 26 minutes of action.
Williams led the Beermen with 29 points and 13 rebounds, while reigning MVP Arwind Santos added 10 and four rebounds.
The Elasto Painters drew 27 points and 18 rebounds from Arizona Reid, who appeared to have tired out in the end as he tried to do it all for the struggling squad.
San Miguel Beer 97 - Williams 29, Fajardo 28, Santos 10, Lassiter 8, Maierhofer 7, Tubid 5, Ross 4, Lutz 4, Chua 2, Lanete 0, Kramer 0, Mercado 0.
Rain or Shine 92 - Reid 27, Lee 13, Tiu 11, Almazan 9, Chan 9, Rodriguez 8, Norwood 5, Uyloan 3, Cruz 2, Arana 2, Ibanes 2, Nuyles 1, Belga 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 44-42, 66-68, 97-92