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    Bay Area Dragons find Fajardo-less San Miguel an easy prey

    Oct 16, 2022
    Liu Chuanxing
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    BAY Area Dragons destroyed defending PBA Commissioner's Cup champion San Miguel Beer, 113-87, in a huge bounce back win on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Import Andrew Nicholson showed his true potential by unleashing 25 points in the first half alone to turn around a highly anticipated game into a complete rout in favor of the foreign guest team.

    [READ: As UST losses pile up, calls grow for revamp of Tigers program]

    The 32-year-old Canadian and former NBA player finished with 39 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the line and and added 12 rebounds to outplay San Miguel counterpart Diamond Stone, who was held to just 11 points and 14 rebounds.

    Coming off their first loss in the tournament against Barangay Ginebra, 111-93, the Dragons improved to a 5-1 slate as they took advantage of big man June Mar Fajardo's absence from the Beermen.

    CJ Perez


    The 6-foot-10 Fajardo underwent surgery this week for a misaligned cartilage in his a larynx which he suffered in SMB's game against Rain or Shine last week.

    “Yeah, that hurt them for sure. He’s maybe the best player in the competition. They played off him and they won a championship,” said Bay Area Dragons coach Brian Goorjian about Fajardo not suiting up for San Miguel.

    “But one thing about San Miguel, and that’s why they won a championship, they’ve got tremendous depth. They got back-up bigs, they’re deep in the guard spot, so yeah, they definitely missed him (Fajardo). But they’ got enough there for us to feel good about beating a team of that quality without him.”


      San Miguel scored the first six points to open the game, but the Dragons caught up soon after behind Nicholson, Hayden Joel Blankley, and Kobey Ketavong Lam.

      By the end of the first period, the Dragons WEre already enjoying a 28-17 lead from which they never looked back.

      The guest team enjoyed its biggest lead at 86-56 near the end of the third quarter.

      Nicholson, seeing action in only his second game, played under the weather, and was actually under restricted minutes by Goorjian.

      “It’s my second day in and I was just getting my wind back. I think coach did a great job of managing and how I was utilized,” said the Bay Area import.

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      Blankley finished with 17 points, while Songwei Zhu and Lam each had 16 for the Dragons.

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      CJ Perez had an all-around game of 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists for San Miguel, which also got 15 from big man Vic Manuel.

      The loss was the worst for the Beermen since a 124-90 shellacking at the hands of Meralco Bolts in the 2020 Philippine Cup in the Clark bubble.

      In a conference with imports, it was also the most lopsided for the franchise after a 125-99 rout also against the Bolts during the 2019 Governors’ Cup.

      At the same time, it was the biggest losing record by a defending champion since Barangay Ginebra was beaten by TNT in last season’s Governors’ Cup, 119-92.

      The scores:

      Bay Area (113) - Nicholson 39, Blankley 17, Zhu 16, Lam 16, Liu 12, Reid 6, Song 3, Ju 2, Ewing 2, Zheng 0, Yang 0, Si 0, Liang 0.

      San Miguel (87) - Perez 19, Manuel 15, Stone 11, Enciso 9, Tautuaa 9, Cruz 8, Lassiter 7, Brondial 4, Zamar 3, Ross 2, Herndon 0, Canete 0.

      Quarterscores: 28-17; 58-40; 86-58; 113-87.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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