SAN MIGUEL DOWNS ROOKIE-LADEN PHOENIX BEHIND FAJARDO, MANUEL STRONG SHOWING
San Miguel relied on the hot-shooting of June Mar Fajardo and Vic Manuel as they outlasted a rookie-laden Phoenix Super LPG, 108-100, to start the 2022 PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo started the season on a high note for the Beermen as he fired 24 points alongside 15 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks while Vic Manuel also delivered a solid game of 24 points, three rebounds, and two blocks.
Pledging P200 to charity for every point he scores this season, Fajardo waxed hot with a stellar 9-of-11 clip from the field and making 6 of his 11 free throws.
“This time, I think, they are seeing the difference. They’ve been saying this is our conference, the all-Filipino. But I told them we have to walk the talk,” coach Leo Austria said.
It was a neck-and-neck cushion for the two until San Miguel gained a separation after Manuel nailed a jumper with 38 seconds remaining that gave the squad a 104-96 lead.
Matthew Wright responded with a four-point play for the Fuel Masters to cut the deficit to four, 100-104, before Chris Ross pulled off a two-possession lead for San Miguel with a quick layup then set up Fajardo for a clean look that ultimately sealed the final tally.
CJ Perez contributed to the win with 19 points, six rebounds, four steals, and three assists while Ross churned out a near-triple-double of 17 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds as San Miguel veterans took over to repel rookie-laden Phoenix.
Matthew Wright paced Phoenix with 22 points and five assists while rookie No. 14th pick overall added 17 points on a perfect 5-of-5 clip from deep as a starter, and No. 19 pick Serrano chimed in 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Newly acquired Javee Mocon posted five points in his Phoenix bow.
San Miguel 108 – Fajardo 24, Manuel 24, Perez 19, Ross 17, Brondial 9, Tautuaa 8, Lassiter 6, Pessumal 1, Enciso 0.
Phoenix Super LPG 100 – Wright 22, Tio 17, Serrano 15, Perkins 15, Jazul 9, Mocon 5, Lalata 5, Pascual 4, Manganti 3, Melecio 3, Muyang 2, Rios 0, Garcia 0, Porter 0.
Quarters: 23-25; 54-51; 83-77; 108-100.