Even without three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel Beer still posted a lopsided 109-80 win over Mahindra to stay unbeaten in four games at the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Wednesday.
The Beermen established a solid start through accurate shooting that resulted in the team having the luxury to rest all starters during most of the second half.
“As what I’ve told them prior to this game, we couldn’t take Mahindra lightly because they’ve already beat us in the past. I’m happy that my players listened and most of our attempts went in,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria during the postgame interview.
The Beermen notched 23-of-44 overall from the field against 15-of-51 of the Floodbuster after the first half. By the end of the match, SMB had a 43-of-95 overall shooting from the field against Mahindra’s 35-of-106.
Fajardo played for just eight minutes and it was only the second time in his career and first in four years the he exited a game scoreless.
“We just decided to rest him because we knew that he (Fajardo) was tired. He is also practicing with Gilas Pilipinas so he deserves a rest,” said Austria.
The seven-time Philippine Cup champion was enjoying a 55-31 lead at the half and controlled the game the rest of the way.
The Beermen established its biggest lead, 95-61, after a three-pointer by rookie Rashawn McCarthy with 8:57 left in the game.
Playmaker Alex Cabagnot who ignited San Miguel Beer’s offense in the opening quarter, had 16 points and eight rebounds while Import Charles Rhodes posted 11 of his 20 points in the first canto on top of 18 rebounds and three blocks. Marcio Lassiter and Gabby Espinas contributed 18 and 12 points, respectively, also for San Miguel Beer.
The out of rhythm Keith Wright finished with only with 16 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field plus 12 rebounds to lead Mahindra.
The presence of Mahindra coach Manny Pacquiao failed to prevent the Floodbuster from dropping to 1-6 win-loss record.