LIKE the three-time Most Valuable Player that he is, June Mar Fajardo simply won’t let an immediate goal slip from San Miguel Beer’s hands.
Fajardo led those who held the fort while foul-plagued Charles Rhodes rode the bench, enabling the Beermen to come out a 124-113 victor over gritty Blackwater Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Rhodes still finished with 32 points and nine rebounds while Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and Gabby Espinas also played crucial roles, but it was clearly Fajardo who showed the way as SMB kept alive its hopes of nabbing a top two finish in the eliminations.
With eight wins in 10 games SMB needs to prevail over GlobalPort at elims’ end Friday to secure the No. 2 spot and a twice-to-beat advantage against one of the lowest-ranked squads in the ensuing eight-team quarterfinals, a reward for a top two finisher. – PBA
SMB 124 – Rhodes 32, Fajardo 28, Lassiter 21, Ross 14, Santos 13, Espinas 10, Cabagnot 6, Tubid 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0.
BLACKWATER 113 – Smith 21, Digregorio 16, Canaleta 16, Cruz 16, Pinto 11, Cervantes 10, Sena 8, Aguilar 7, Gamalinda 5, Buenafe 3, Pascual 0, Erram 0.
Quarterscores: 30-32, 56-72, 90-96, 124-113.