The San Miguel Beermen sent the Blackwater Bossing reeling to their fourth straight loss to start the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup with a 99-80 romp, Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Reigning six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo submitted his best performance yet since returning from a shin injury, putting up 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
"I'm happy for him because he really wanted to get back to his old form," head coach Leo Austria said of their prized man in the middle who had seven points and five rebounds in the opening salvo alone.
"We saw earlier his dominance inside. But it's not enough for him because he is thinking of something else," he continued, also adding that the game was a big boost to Fajardo's confidence as well as the Beermen's chances as they have now run off three wins in a row after a season-opening loss.
San Miguel, however, led by just one at the half, 39-38, before leaning on a huge 19-4 run which saw them go ahead, 58-42, in the late stages of the third. All in all, they outscored their opponents 30-15 in the quarter to blow the game wide open.
The game was all but over when the Beermen then led by as many as 25, 82-57, early in the final chapter.
"We knew from the start that this would not be an easy game for us. I knew this Blackwater team is really trying hard to exert some effort, and they showed it this afternoon," recalled Austria.
"Maybe it's just a matter of time for them to be competitive. But my veterans stepped up, especially Alex [Cabagnot] and Arwind Santos and the rest," he added, talking about his two stalwarts who scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.
For Blackwater, Simon Enciso led the offense with 25 markers, while Mike Tolomia and Kelly Nabong chipped in 12 points apiece.
SAN MIGUEL (99) -- Fajardo 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 12, Zamar 11, Pessumal 10, Santos 10, Ross 5, Gotladera 2, Comboy 2, Gamalinda 2, Tautuaa 2.
BLACKWATER (80) -- Enciso 25, Tolomia 12, Nabong 12, Daquioag 9, Desiderio 5, Escoto 5, Canaleta 4, Amer 4, Magat 2, Acuno 2, Paras 0, Semerad 0, Gabriel 0, Dennison 0, Torralba 0.
Quarter Scores: 20-11, 39-38, 69-53, 99-80.
- Terrence Romeo, who injured his left knee last July 18, has returned to practice, concentrating on his conditioning and shooting. According to Ausria, he will be re-evaluated in a week's time.
- San Miguel assistant coach Peter Martin suffered a leg injury while helping out the team in practice. Austria explained that the former pro slipped and will be out for a few weeks.
- Mo Tautuaa suffered a right arm injury with 3:15 left in the game. Austria believes the former top pick will be okay.
San Miguel vs. Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, Aug. 1, 4:35 p.m., at Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig
Blackwater vs. Phoenix Super LPG on Saturday, July 31, 2 p.m., at Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig