JUNE Mar Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger joined forces to send San Miguel Beer to the semifinals after routing TNT KaTropa, 96-86, on Wednesday in Game 3 of their best-of-three quarterfinals duel of Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
After getting hurt in Game 2’s 88-93 loss, Fajardo came back strong by firing 29 of his 32 points in the first three quarters, in addition to his 14 rebounds while Standhardinger scored 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Beermen.
The reigning five-time Most Valuable Player was perfect on 11-of-11 field goal attempts, equalling the third all-time league most record without a miss also in the league. That gigantic effort sent the Beermen to a best-of-seven semifinals showdown with top seed Phoenix Pulse.
Standhardinger went 8-of-9 shooting from the field.
San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria said that it was the team’s superb defense that locked in the win.
“There’s only one thing we saw that made the difference, and it was our defense,” said Austria. “The players were really self-motivated. Critics used to say that we don’t have defense but tonight it showed.”
Terrence Romeo contributed 11 points and four assists also for the Beermen.
After establishing a 25-10 lead in the first quarter, the Beermen stretched their advantage to 53-27 at the half and were never threatened.
Roger Pogoy led TNT with 16 points.
Aside from Fajardo, Ali Peek recorded 12-of-12 in Coca-Cola’s 109-108 win over Alaska last March 2006. He scored 11-of-11 in August 2001, while playing with Alaska during its 71-79 loss to San Miguel Beer.
Coca-Cola import Jason Dixon also had a 12-of-12 shooting from the field in 109-108 win over Purefoods last April 2008.
San Miguel 96 – Fajardo 32, Standhardinger 17, Romeo 11, Cabagnot 8, Ross 8, Santos 7, Lassiter 6, Tubid 5, Rosser 2, Pessumal 0, Zamar 0.
TNT 86 – Pogoy 16, Heruela 10, Castro 10, Taha 10, Rosario 10, Williams 9, Bono 6, Reyes 5, A. Semerad 4, Trollano 2, Washington 2, Casino 2, Carey 0, D. Semerad 0.
Quarters: 25-10, 53-27, 77-55, 96-86.