by Jerome Lagunzad
Formidable Meralco finally found its match in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup and so did its imposing import Alex Stepheson on Sunday night.
The 6-foot-10 Stepheson laid a big fat egg in the stretch as San Miguel Beer’s solid frontline, led by reigning three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, made life miserable for him in the Bolts’ 92-99 loss to the Beermen at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
A dominant force to be reckoned with in Meralco’s four straight victories, the former University of Southern California standout racked up 21 big points in the first 36 minutes of play, but he was virtually shut down in the final frame by San Miguel Beer’s suffocating defense in the lane, with Fajardo and Beermen import Charles Rhodes taking turns on him defensively.
And the Cebuano giant certainly earned another admirer in the process.
“Big dog is good,” said Stepheson of Fajardo, who finished with 24 points on an efficient 11-of-16 shooting from the field on top of 12 rebounds, two assists, as many blocks and a steal in 36 minutes of play.
“(He’s) really a skilled (big) man. He’s really patient in the post, really knows what he’s doing out there. He doesn’t waste a lot of energy. He’s very efficient. I was excited to play against him today. I just learned a little bit…fouled him a little bit.”
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