Fajardo propels San Miguel past undermanned Purefoods
MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen weathered a spirited rally from the undermanned Purefoods Star Hotshots and came away unscathed with an 87-80 victory on Sunday, October 26 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to climb to 2-0 in the 2015 Philippine Cup.
Reigning PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo torched the Grand Slam champions with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks to hand the Hotshots their second straight defeat this conference.
"It's a good win for us because in our first two games we beat the finalists in the last conference," San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said, recalling their first win over Rain or Shine. "Our team is on the right track."
The Beermen began creating some separation from Purefoods in the second quarter, ending the first half up by 47-33.
But after San Miguel erected its biggest advantage at 56-37 in the third frame, Purefoods came storming back to trim the deficit to single digits, 66-57, heading into the payoff period.
Mark Barroca came alive in the fourth and dropped 9 of his total 13 points while also making things happen for his team on both ends of the court.
His efforts allowed the Hotshots to close in at 80-76 on a PJ Simon (14 points) 3-point play with 3:21 remaining.
But Arwind Santos, who had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, knocked down a pair of charities to create more separation from Purefoods, 82-77.
Fajardo then scored a basket to make it an 84-77 advantage with 1:38 to go, Purefoods ran out of time to try and mount a comeback.
Ronald Tubid and Sol Mercado stepped up for the Beermen and contributed 16 and 12 points, respectively. While Chris Lutz had 9 markers.
"With our win today, I think it will boost our morale coming into the next games," Austria said.
"I'm really happy with the performance of the team because of their execution. And we were able to stick to our game plan on defense."
Barroca had an injury scare with under a minute left as Fajardo landed on his right knee as they scrambled for the loose ball. But the feisty playmaker dusted it off and was able to finish the game.
The Hotshots were severely undermanned as hustle guy Marc Pingris is still using up his 3-week recovery period coming off his stint with Gilas Pilipinas.
Sophomore big man Ian Sangalang, on the other hand, was officially ruled out for 6 to 8 months with a partial ACL tear he incurred in the team's first outing against the Alaska Aces.
Purefoods suffered a more recent blow just yesterday when James Yap strained his right calf at practice, which also forced Tim Cone to sit him out.
Yousef Taha and Joe Devance manned the paint for the Hotshots. Taha had 14 points and 7 boards, while Devance had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
SAN MIGUEL BEER (87) - Fajardo 22, Tubid 16, Santos 14, Mercado 12, Lutz 9, Kramer 5, Ross 4, Pascual 3, Lassiter 2, Maierhofer 0, Semerad 0, Hubalde 0, Omolon 0, Chua 0.
PUREFOODS (80) - Taha 14, Simon 14, Barroca 13, Devance 11, Melton 9, Maliksi 9, Reavis 8, Mallari 2, Alvarez 0, Holstein 0, Yap 0, Gaco 0, Matias 0, Allado 0.
Quarterscores: 21-22, 47-33, 66-57, 87-80
Here are some images of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images