June Mar Fajardo showed up for Game 3 with no signs of a hurting left knee and powered the defending champions San Miguel Beermen past bitter rival TNT KaTropa, 96-86, to clinch the series and move on to the semifinal round of the 2019 Philippine Cup, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The league’s only five-time Most Valuable Player dropped 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Beermen kept their title-retention drive alive and arranged a semis date with top seeded Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
The Beermen opened the game with a 17-3 tear and never looked back, led by as much as 26 points and thwarted any comeback attempts by the KaTropa much to the delight of the SMB fans in attendance as the league celebrated its 44th anniversary with an array of promos in cooperation with Smart Araneta management.
Fajardo went a perfect 11 of 11 from the field to tie Ali Peek for the 3rd best all-time record in that department.
Christian Standhardinger contributed 17 points and 9 rebounds while Terrence Romeo added 11 markers.
Roger Pogoy led TNT with 16 points while 4 teammates, namely Brian Heruela, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Yousef Taha each contributed 10.
San Miguel 96 – Fajardo 32, Standhardinger 17, Romeo 11, Ross 8, Cabagnot 8, Santos 7, Lassiter 6, Tubid 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Pessumal 0, Zamar 0.
TNT 86 – Pogoy 16, Heruela 10, Castro 10, Rosario 10, Taha 10, Williams 9, Bono 6, Reyes 5, A. Semerad 4, Trollano 2, Washington 2, Casino 2, Carey 0, D. Semerad 0, A. Semerad 0.
Quarterscores: 25-10, 53-27, 77-55, 96-86.