PBA Philippine Cup

Sixth man: June Mar stars off the bench as San Miguel escapes TNT for 2-0 start

Martin Mendoza

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Sixth man: June Mar stars off the bench as San Miguel escapes TNT for 2-0 start

TOWERING. San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo lays it in past TNT defenders.


Despite playing under a minutes restriction, June Mar Fajardo posts a huge double-double to lift San Miguel past TNT

MANILA, Philippines – Still on a minutes restriction due to the calf injury he sustained during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, seven-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo has no problem coming off the bench for the San Miguel Beermen.

And with Fajardo flourishing in his role as a sixth man, San Miguel got off to a 2-0 start in the Philippine Cup after defeating the TNT Tropang Giga in a close one, 91-89, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday, March 17. 

Coming off a 15-point, 10-rebound outing against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters two days ago, Fajardo picked up where he left off and posted another double-double of 15 markers and 17 boards in close to 33 minutes of play versus the Tropang Giga. 

“My minutes are still restricted. But I’m thankful to my teammates and coaches for giving me confidence,” said Fajardo in Filipino.

“I missed a lot of shots, but they still give me confidence,” added Fajardo, who went 6-of-13 from the field in the victory. 

Marcio Lassiter, Don Trollano, and Jericho Cruz all scored 12 points each to help Fajardo carry San Miguel’s scoring cudgels, while Terrence Romeo and Simon Enciso added 9 apiece. 

After Cruz failed to give San Miguel a three-point cushion following a split from the foul line with only 15 seconds left, TNT had a golden opportunity to grab the lead for the first time since the second quarter and win it all in the final possession.

However, Cruz and the Beermen managed to put the clamps on TNT star Jayson Castro in the dying seconds, leading to a botched play where Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser missed the potential game-winning triple for the Tropang Giga at the buzzer. 

San Miguel survived a vintage performance by Castro, who scored a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting in the losing effort.  

Roger Pogoy backstopped Castro with 15 points, while Calvin Oftana and Kelly Williams both chipped in 14 for the Tropang Giga, who slipped to a 2-2 record.

As the league goes on a two-week break, San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent hopes his wards remain locked in as they hope to carry their winning momentum into their next game on March 31 against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

“After the All-Star, I hope our mentality from March 4 to 14 will be the same,” said Gallent.

“After the All-Star, we’re going to rest a day, we’re going to work hard again, and prepare for battle again in our next coming games.” 

Five Beermen players, namely Fajardo, Lassiter, Trollano, Romeo, and CJ Perez will see action in the highly anticipated 2024 PBA All-Star Game in Bacolod City on Sunday, March 24.  

The Scores

San Miguel 91 – Fajardo 15, Lassiter 12, Trollano 12, Cruz 12, Enciso 9, Romeo 9, Perez 9, Ross 6, Teng 5, Tautuaa 2, Brondial 0.

TNT 89 – Castro 20, Pogoy 15, Oftana 14, Williams 14, Aurin 10, Heruela 4, Ganuelas-Rosser B. 4, Ebona 4, Khobuntin 2, Ponferada 2, Varilla 0, Montalbo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser M. 0.

Quarters: 25-23, 52-39, 72-70, 91-89. 

– Rappler.com

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