Fajardo, Beermen escape shorthanded Aces

08:01 PM December 03, 2016


San Miguel Beer bucked a tough, tough challenge by a badly crippled but fierce-fighting Alaska side Saturday night, squeezing out a 93-88 win to move up to joint third place in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Despite a huge double-double game from June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen played catch-up basketball most of the way and needed clutch plays by Arwind Santos and RR Garcia at the finish to salvage the game.

Alaska dominated the first half, leading by as many as 15 only to succumb at endgame and allow SMB to catch TNT KaTropa and Blackwater at third place at 2-1.

The Aces, also with a sorry loss in their initial game versus the NLEX Road Warriors, stayed winless in two starts.


But coach Alex Compton and his troops earned the respect of just about everybody with the kind of fight they put up in the absence of major players Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, Vic Manuel, Noy Baclao and Ping Exciminiano.

 The Aces imposed their up-tempo game and set the pace all throughout the opening half that they ended at 53-44.

JVee Casio provided the leadership, hustle and firepower, scattering 16 markers on 6-of-8 shooting in the first 24 minutes of play.

The whole Alaska team was a scrappy lot, pouncing on the Beermen, 16-7, on points off turnovers. Another key was holding Fajardo to six points and seven rebounds in the first half.

They dragged the Beermen to a battle to the end only to lose at the finish.

The Beermen stole the game on a clutch jumper by Santos and five charities by Garcia, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross in the last 43 seconds of play.

With their heroics, preserved was Fajardo’s double-double job with 23 points and 22 rebounds.

The scores:

SAN MIGUEL 93 – Fajardo 23, Santos 16, Lassiter 14, Garcia 13, Espinas 12, Agovida 8, Tubid 2, McCarthy 2, Ross 2, Van Opstal 0.

ALASKA 88 – Casio 20, Dela Cruz 15, Mendoza 12, Cruz 11, Banchero 7, Galliguez 5, Jazul 5, Racal 5, Magat 5, Hontiveros 3.

Quarters: 16-22, 44-53, 70-72, 93-88

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TAGS: 2017 Philippine Cup, alaska aces, arwind santos, june mar fajardo, pba, san miguel beermen
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