Fajardo Fajardo celebrates with San Miguel Beer teammates.

Back to square one

June 14, 2024 Robert Andaya 146 views

THE PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title showdown is back to square one.

And seven-time PBA MVP June Mar Farajdo, who earlier captured his 10th Best Player of the Conference award, is only too happy to be in the position to win another title for San Miguel Beer.

Fajardo, nicknamed the “Kraken”, finished with a double-double of 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 13 rebounds to lead San Miguel to a series-tying 111-101 victory over the Meralco Bolts in Game 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Sa isip ko wala pa akong na-achieve, wala pa akong napanalo, kaya lagi akong gutom,” said Fajardo, who edged top rookie pick Stephen Holt of Terrafirma and Robert Bolick of NLEX for the highest individual award.

CJ Perez added 22 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Marcio Lassiter contributed 18 points, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, for the Jorge Gallent-mentored Beermen.

Mo Tautuaa, Don Trollano and the returning Vic Manuel and Terrence Romeo also helped the Beermen’s cause.

With a career-high performance, Chris Newsome led the losing effort for coach Luigi Trillo’s Bolts.

Newsome erupted for 40 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field, along with six rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes of action.

Chris Banchero added 21 points and four rebounds, Cliff Hodge contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Allein Maliksi chipped in nine points and eight rebounds for the Bolts.

Bong Quinto, however, was limited to six points in 31 minutes of play.

Gallent lauded his players’ efforts in Game 4.

“We talked about trusting one another and sharing the ball. If we do that, our offense will come,”said Gallent.

“And it showed in Game 4. We had 111 (points), this is the highest output in this series. So it’s just the mindset of these players to trust one another and to share the ball. That’s the philosophy.”

Now, San Miguel and Meralco meet anew for Game 5 on Friday.

The winner will take a decisive 3-2 series lead and move one win away from the championship.

The scores:

San Miguel (111) — Fajardo 28, Perez 22, Lassiter 18, Tautuaa 9, Trollano 8, Manuel 8, Romeo 7, Ross 6, Cruz 5, Brondial 0, Teng 0.
Meralco (101) — Newsome 40, Banchero 21, Hodge 17, Maliksi 9, Quinto 6, Bates 4, Almazan 2, Rios 2, Caram 0, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 29-22, 51-40, 82-74, 111-101.

Game Friday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7:30 p.m.– Meralco vs. San Miguel


Game 1: Meralco 93, San Miguel 86
Game 2: San Miguel 95, Meralco 94
Game 3: Meralco 93, San Miguel 89
Game 4: San Miguel 111, Meralco 101
(Series tied at 2-2)