JUNE Mar Fajardo feasted on KIA Motors’ undersized frontline in the second half to lead San Miguel Beer to a 90-74 victory and a share of the lead in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The reigning league MVP threw his weight around all night long on the way to scoring a career-best 36 points, 26 coming in the second half when the Beermen finally pulled away from an overmatched but determined Sorento squad.
The 6-foot-10 Gilas back-up big man shot a near-perfect 13-of-15 from the floor to go along with 17 rebounds as the Beermen won their third straight and improved to 6-1, catching Alaska which early in the day fell to Barako Bull.
“Nakakatakot yung first three quarters dahil alam namin, [puwede kaming matalo.] Eh ang first game, natalo nga ang Alaska sa Barako,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria said.
Austria added that he already warned the Beermen to brace for a tough match against Sorento, who, despite losing their seventh straight this conference, didn’t go down without a fight.
KIA, however, simply had no answer every time Fajardo got the ball in the shaded lane, a fact that the San Miguel coach recognized.
“Talagang kay June Mar kami pupunta dahil it seems they (Sorento) couldn’t control him. We have Marcio Lassiter, Ronald Pascual and (Chris) Lutz pa, kaya si June Mar makikita mo, kaya niya eh,” he said.
Fajardo’s 36 points shattered his previous PBA career-high 28, which he set last May 23 in San Miguel’s 97-90 win over Rain or Shine.
Lassiter chipped in 16 points for the Beermen, who will take a six-day break before returning to action next Tuesday against the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
The Sorento, which fell to 1-7, drew 16 points from Reil Cervantes while pint-sized guard JayAr Buensuceso added 11, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists.
San Miguel 90 - Fajardo 36, Lassiter 16, Lutz 9, Pascual 9, Tubid 8, Fortuna 5, Santos 3, Ross 2, Omolon 2, Mercado 0, Maierhofer 0, Chua 0, Semerad 0.
KIA 74 - Cervantes 16, Buensuceso 11, Revilla 9, Webb 9, Custodio 9, Dehesa 6, Burtscher 6, Pascual 4, Ighalo 2, Alvarez 2, Sanga 0, Raymundo 0, Parreno 0, Suguitan 0.
Quarterscores: 17-16, 39-38, 64-58, 90-74