Fajardo, Cabagnot spark Beermen to first win over Hotshots

Jane Bracher
(UPDATED) The defending champions open the 42nd season strong with a big win

BIG GAME. Alex Cabagnot has a big first game as San Miguel seals its first win of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Star Hotshots had 30 turnovers and they turned the victory over to the San Miguel Beermen, 96-88, to open the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, November 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

June Mar Fajardo paced the defending champions with 25 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks while Alex Cabagnot came up with 22 points on 9-of-21 shooting with 8 assists, two rebounds, and two steals in the opening day triumph.

The Beermen capitalized on the Hotshots’ miscues, scoring 29 points off of it as they completed a fourth quarter comeback from 9 points down.

Down 77-86 after a PJ Simon triple, San Miguel went on a searing 15-0 run powered by Fajardo, Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter to build a 92-86 advantage with 3:23 to go and steal the win.

Arwind Santos contributed 17 points with 5 rebounds as Lassiter had 9 markers and 8 boards.

“I’m so happy with this result,” said head coach Leo Austria. “They know how to play in that situation (down in the fourth).”

Paul Lee, who was traded in the offseason in exchange for James Yap, debuted for the Hotshots with 12 points and 10 rebounds on 4-of-13 field goals.

He also led Star’s turnover spree with 9, as the team nearly doubled San Miguel’s 17 miscues.

Mark Barroca topped Star with 13 points and 4 assists while rookie Jio Jalalon had 11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Allein Maliksi added 10 markers while Simon had 9 as the Hotshot had just 13 total assists.

Scores:

San Miguel (96): Fajardo 25, Cabagnot 22, Santos 17, Lassiter 11, Ross 7, Tubid 6, Espinas 5, Reyes 3, Garcia 1, Agovida 0.

Star (88): Barroca 13, Lee 12, Jalalon 11, Maliksi 10, Simon 9, Sangalang 8, Pingris 7, Ramos 6, Melton 6, Reavis 2, Pascual 2, Brondial 2.

Quarter scores: 26-24, 51-43, 75-79, 96-88.

– Rappler.com