June Mar Fajardo exploded into action at the right time for San Miguel Beer as the Beermen pulled off a come-from-behind 118-112 win over Kia to clinch a quarterfinals seat in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The 6’11 three-time Most Valuable Player unloaded 32 of his career second best 41 points in the second half on top of his 17 rebounds and three assists to extend San Miguel’s winning streak to three games for a 6-3 win-loss record.
“He (Fajardo) was able to catch up from his previous games and I need him to be inside because I know he will dominate this game. His stint with Gilas (Pilipinas) also helped him a lot,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria.
Marcio Lassiter and import Terrence Watson added 16 points each, while Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot contributed 15 points apiece. Alex Cabagnot contributed 11 points and eight assists also for the Beermen.
“Ugly game for us because everybody is expecting us to pull away in this game, but we didn’t. It’s a wake up call for us as what I’ve said everybody wanted to beat us. From the start, I know they will play good. But even it’s a one-point win, that’s okay with me,” added Austria.
From an 80-87 deficit with still 11:08 to go in the last quarter, San Miguel Beer closed the gap by unloading a 10-2 run to grab the lead at 90-89 with 8:52 remaining.
But the Picanto refused to go down early and import Geron Johnson’s triple put Kia within one, 104-105 with 4:05 left in the game.
But Fajardo, Santos and Cabagnot joined forces in the last four minutes to give San Miguel a 112-106 advantage, 1:36 left to take the game for good.
Johnson flirted with a triple-double of 42 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists but had 10 turnovers for Kia, which remained winless after 10 games.
SAN MIGUEL 118 – Fajardo 41, Watson 16, Lassiter 16, Santos 15, Ross 15, Cabagnot 11, Tubid 2, Espinas 2, Heruela 0, Pessumal 0, Rosser 0.
KIA 112 – Johnson 42, Yee 18, Corpuz 15, Paniamogan 14, Celda 9, Elorde 7, Salva 3, Camson 2, Ballesteros 2, Jaime 0, Deutchman 0.
Quarters: 25-25, 45-50, 78-84, 118-112.