Beermen survive Aces in OT anew in Fajardo’s return
June Mar Fajardo electrified the crowd instantly just as he headed to the officials’ table late in the opening quarter.
Drawing inspiration on Fajardo’s surprise comeback, San Miguel Beer sustained its fightback and stretched the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup finals to another game with an 86-73 drubbing of Alaska Milk in overtime Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With back-to-back overtime wins, the Beermen have a crack at tying the series at 3-3 as the two teams slug it out in Game Six also at the Big Dome Friday.
The Aces blew a shot at wrapping up the game and the series with Calvin Abueva missing a shot inside the paint in the dying seconds of regulation play.
In overtime, the Beermen were all over the Aces, repeating their 110-104 triumph in Game Four.
Fajardo played 16:29 minutes and came through with 13 points and four rebounds.
Arwind Santos delivered team-highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds with Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Gabby Espinas having their key contributions.
Alaska played catch-up basketball from a 2-0 count, getting a taste of the lead only at 50-49 on a three-pointer by RJ Jazul in the 3:03 mark of the third.
Jazul then banged in another triple and the Aces led by three at 55-52 going into the final canto.
Holding the Beermen scoreless in the last 4:10 minutes of the second quarter, the Aces waged their initial chase and forged a tie at 36-all at the turn.
With a better field shooting, the Beermen controlled the tempo most of the first half, leading by eight at 38-26 on a trey by Arwind Santos.
Fajardo provided instant spark as he checked in with a minute to go in the first quarter and knocked in his first shot off Noy Baclao.
Playing 5:15 minutes in all in the first half, Fajardo went 2-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe for six markers.
Five more turnovers and six less offensive rebounds than the Aces’ were a key setback for the Beermen in the first half.
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