YANCY de Ocampo stepped out of the shadows of June Mar Fajardo to lead San Miguel Beer to a grind-out 88-80 overtime victory over NLEX on Wednesday night in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The seldom-used veteran slotman ably filled the void when the reigning back-to-back MVP was saddled by foul trouble, pumping in a team-high-tying 17 points and 12 boards as he held his own against Asi Taulava.
As a result, SMB stretched its winning streak to six games and tightened its grip on the top spot with an 8-1 win-loss slate, while dealing NLEX its fifth loss in nine games.
“Thank God we salvaged this game,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “We knew it was a tough game as they have a big man who can stop our big man.”
True enough, Fajardo found his match in Taulava, who frustrated his younger counterpart and got him into foul trouble, drawing his last foul late in regulation.
Fajardo, coming off a 35-point performance, wound up with just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting - the first time he failed to reach double-figure scoring this conference. He also committed six turnovers.
Good thing De Ocampo stepped up, scoring the Beermen’s first five points in the extra session, the first three on a three-point play that forced Taulava to foul out as well. The lefty big man also dished out an assist and grab a rebound in that time frame.
“Yancy redeemed himself in overtime,” Austria said as De Ocampo committed a turnover that led to the overtime-sending basket. “I have to give credit to him.”
Alex Cabagnot contributed 17 points as well as the star point guard added to SMB’s insurance points in OT.
Jonas Villanueva scored a team-high 20 points, including three on the catch-and-shoot left-wing triple off Sean Anthony that forced an extension.