By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE San Miguel Beermen are back on the winning track in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup after defeating the Blackwater Elite, 99-96, in overtime in league action on Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Played sans an import with Dez Wells sitting out the game because of an ankle injury, the Beermen turned to league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo to power them past the gutsy stand by the Elite, halting a two-game slide to improve to 6-3 in the ongoing tournament and earning a spot in the next round.
Fajardo finished with a game-high 30 points to go along with 13 rebounds in the San Miguel victory.
Blackwater had control of the opening half, taking the first quarter, 16-11, before claiming a 37-34 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo got the Beermen to a fiery start, outscoring the Elite, 10-0, to take a 44-37 lead with just two minutes lapsing.
Blackwater, however, would find its footing after on the lead of import Marqus Blakely.
The Elite went on a 23-13 blast in the next six minutes to overtake the Beermen, 60-57.
San Miguel moved to reclaim the upper hand and was successful in it, riding a 7-2 wave to go on top, 64-62, with one quarter left to play.
In the fourth period, the two teams battled it out early, looking to secure the momentum to build for the finish.
The Beermen were on top, 76-68, with 8:09 to go before Mac Belo and the Elite answered with a 10-4 run to come to within two points, 80-78, midway.
Messrs. Fajardo and Romeo then led another telling run by San Miguel, helping their team to an 88-79 advantage at the 2:25 mark.
But newly acquired Niño Canaleta jolted Blackwater to a fight back with the Elite pulling even at 88-all with 56 ticks to go.
The teams had their chances to claim the win and the victory in regulation but could not complete them, sending the contest into extra time.
In overtime, Marcio Lassiter got things going for San Miguel before Messrs. Fajardo and Romeo took over.
They held a 98-92 advantage with 1:10 left to play and never relinquished the lead from there on their way to the victory.
Mr. Romeo had 20 points with Arwind Santos adding 13 points and nine rebounds for the Beermen. Mr. Lassiter had 11 points.
Mr. Belo, meanwhile, top-scored for Blackwater (2-8) with 25 points and eight rebounds, with Mr. Blakely finishing with 24 and 18.