San Miguel turned to June Mar Fajardo late to avoid the upset ax in an 109-108 overtime win over Terrafirma on Thursday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo scored on a three-point play with 19.6 seconds left in overtime, which proved to be the game-winner for the Beermen, who clinched the top seed in the quarterfinals on a 9-1 win-loss record.
After leading by as much as 13, the Beermen found themselves in a tightly contested affair with the Dyip in the second half.
A three-pointer by Javi Gomez De Liaño gave Terrafirma its first lead of the game at 103-100 with 2:44 minutes left in overtime.
Behind June Mar Fajardo’s heroics, San Miguel proved to be the steadier team down the stretch as they averted an upset and secured a hard-fought triumph.
Terrafirma had one last shot to steal the win but Javi Gomez De Liano missed a lay-up in the team’s last possession.
Assistant coach Jorge Gallent was in charge of the Beermen after head coach Leo Austria was put under the league’s health and safety protocols.
“We just did what we’ve been doing for the past games, helping one another on defense,” claimed Gallent after leading the team to its ninth win of the conference. “There’s not much adjustment because we just followed our basic rules on offense and defense. We just did what we’ve been doing for the past 10 games.”
Fajardo showed the way for the Beermen with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and a new career-high of 9 assists. Marcio Lassiter followed with 23 points and eight rebounds while CJ Perez chipped in 20 points, five rebounds, and four steals of his own.
San Miguel (9-1) will aim to extend its six-game winning streak against Meralco (5-3) on Sunday, July 17, at 4:30 PM at the Big Dome.
Eric Camson led the Dyip with 20 points built on four treys along with two rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile, Gomez De Liaño put up his best scoring output of the season with 19 markers to go with two boards and an assist in a losing effort.
JP Calvo also provided 19 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and three steals against San Miguel.
Terrafirma (0-9) will look to finally break into the win column against Rain or Shine (3-6) on Saturday, July 16, at 5:15 PM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
- San Miguel 109 – Fajardo 26, Lassiter 23, Perez 20, Pessumal 13, Tautuaa 10, Zamar 9, Canete 2, Enciso 0, Manuel 0.
- Terrafirma 108 – Camson 20, Calvo 19, Gomez de Liano 19, Cahilig 17, Mina 13, Ramos 8, Gabayni 7, Tiongson 3, Tumalip 2, Balagasay 0.
Quarters: 23-19; 47-43; 74-68; 98-98; 109-108.