JUNE Mar Fajardo asserted himself in shaded lane as San Miguel spoiled an impressive debut by the rookies of Phoenix Super LPG, pulling off a 108-100 win on Wednesday in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo started the season on a high note for the Beermen as he finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds on a night when he announced that he will be donating P200 for every point that he scores this season.
Vic Manuel and Chris Ross also played big down the stretch for the Beermen, who had to overcome an early deficit and were pushed to the end by a Phoenix side that got an unexpected boost from freshmen Tyler Tio and Encho Serrano.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said he was glad that their solid preparation paid dividends right in the first game of the season.
“Once na natapos ‘yung SEA Games, June Mar and Mo [Tautuaa] were able to get to the team to practice. It gave us confidence kasi excited ‘yung mga players dahil sa nilaro ni June Mar,” said Austria.
“But I told them that June Mar is [just] another player of the team. We still have to work hard dahil alam ko na hinihingi ng mga players mismo na this is our conference. They initiated this kind of preparation,” said Austria.
San Miguel didn't really gain separation from Phoenix until the fourth quarter and even then, it needed all of Fajardo's seven points in that stretch to hold off a surprising Phoenix side.
Matthew Wright led Phoenix with 22 points, but it was its rookies who kept it in the game. Tio finished with 17 points while Serrano, the 19th pick in the recent draft, had 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for the Fuel Masters.
Newly acquired Javee Mocon finished with five points in his Phoenix bow.
San Miguel 108 – Fajardo 24, Manuel 24, Perez 19, Ross 17, Brondial 9, Tautuaa 8, Lassiter 6, Pessumal 1, Enciso 0.
Phoenix Super LPG 100 – Wright 22, Tio 17, Serrano 15, Perkins 15, Jazul 9, Mocon 5, Lalata 5, Pascual 4, Manganti 3, Melecio 3, Muyang 2, Rios 0, Garcia 0, Porter 0.
Quarters: 23-25; 54-51; 83-77; 108-100.
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