by: Carlo Pamintuan
The San Miguel Beermen faced a huge test in their 2017 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup debut as they took on the undefeated Meralco Bolts. It took them a while to get their bearings back after their break but when they did, there was no stopping the Beermen.
Down by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, SMB turned what was a close ball game into a showcase of their offensive prowess with a 99-92 victory inside the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Sunday night.
“It was difficult for us because it’s our first game and we’re against Meralco and they’re playing very well so far because of their import Alex Stepheson,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria. “We had to adjust because their import could defend June Mar (Fajardo) but luckily for us we had another import.”
It was a slip of the tongue for Austria as they only have only one import like the rest of the field but it pointed out to what the coach really feels about having Fajardo in his squad.
The popular opinion is that the Commissioner’s Cup will be tougher for The Kraken with hulking imports to oppose him but after their first game, he looked as good as ever.
Fajardo led all scorers with 24 points while adding 12 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. He was efficient from the field, making 11-of-16 field goal attempts. He starred in the game’s biggest highlight as he dunked an alley-oop pass coming from Chris Ross in the dying moments of the game.
Alex Cabagnot was named the Best Player of the Game with 23 points, four rebounds, and nine assists while Marcio Lassiter added 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Chris Ross had a signature game with two points, four rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
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