AMERICAN consultant Todd Purves admitted the early foul trouble of star center June Mar Fajardo took San Miguel Beer out of its rhythm in a 79-92 loss to seventh-seeded Air21 on Tuesday in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal showdown.
The Beermen, seeded No. 2 in the playoffs, needed just one win to advance to the semifinals, but they struggled mightily on offense after getting just five points from Fajardo in 24 foul-plagued minutes.
“That foul trouble (on Fajardo) hurt us. When you don’t have your best player, you can only control what you can control. So you just have to tell the guys to stay out of foul trouble,” Purves said, whose team have two days to regroup before facing the Express in a sudden-death match on Friday.
The Beermen also turned the ball over 19 times, resulting in 23 points off transition for the Express. Cat-quick Fil-Am guard Chris Ross scored nine points, grabbed seven rebounds and added eight assists, but turned the ball over seven times.
“Nineteen turnovers are far too many. We have to take good care of the ball. That gave them a lot of shot attempts,” added Purves, who works in tandem with head coach Biboy Ravanes.
Purves also said it didn’t help that San Miguel finished the game with just 39.5 percent shooting from the field after missing several shots from around the basket.
Import Kevin Jones carried the scoring load for the Beemen with 34 points and 15 rebounds.