Looks like the San Miguel Beermen learned their lesson.
SMB relied on their strength and went to big man June Mar Fajardo to eke out a rousing 93-83 victory over the Blackwater Elite in the 2015-2016 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Limited to just seven attempts from the field in the Beermen’s 84-99 loss to Rain Or Shine, Fajardo got the touches he needed this time around. The reigning league MVP ended up with 20 points on top of 13 boards, two blocks, two assists, and one steal.
The Beermen avoided an embarrassing experience from last year when they became the first ever victory by the Elite who managed the feat in the last Commissioner’s Cup.
Blackwater managed to go toe-to-toe with the defending Philippine Cup champions for most of the game.
Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos and Ronald Tubid came through in the clutch for the Beermen, who finished the game on a 9-2 run.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Beermen coach Leo Austria said. “They tried to draw out June Mar from the post, but our talent prevailed.”
The Elite suffered its third loss in four games. It also spoiled the career performance of JP Erram, who registered a game-high 23 points, eight boards, and one block in just 28 minutes.
The former Ateneo slotman scored on a short stab to nudge the Elite to within three, 84-81, with 4:41 to go in the game. The Beermen finished the game strong with a 9-2 run to win pulling away.
Turnovers proved to be the weak link for the Elite. They had only 14 errors – actually three less than the Beermen had – but the Elite committed most of their miscues late in the endgame when it hurt the most.
Cabagnot put up 15 points, four boards, and four assists, while Santos and Tubid combined for 10 points in the fourth.
San Miguel Beer 93 – June Mar Fajardo 20, Marcio Lassiter 20, Aex Cabagnot 15, Arwind Santos 10, Ronald Tubid 9, Gabby Espinas 8, JayR Reyes 3, Ryan Arana 2, Yancy De Ocampo 2, Brian Heruela 2, Chris Lutz 2, Chris Ross 0.
Blackwater Elite 83 – JP Erram 23, Mike Cortez 15, Bambam Gamalinda 14, Carlo Lastimosa 14, Art Dela Cruz 4, James Sena 4, Jeric Canada 2, Reil Cervantes 2, Raphy Reyes 2, Almond Vosotros 2, Jason Melano 1, Keith Agovida 0, Jason Ballesteros 0.
Quarter scores: 24-19, 44-44, 72-70, 93-83.