Fa­jardo lifts Beer­men past Kia

Tempo - - Sports - By JONAS TER­RADO

Games To­day (Ynares Cen­ter, An­tipolo City) 4:30 p.m. – Black­wa­ter vs Glob­alPort 6:45 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs Star

San Miguel al­most fell victim to the up­set bid of win­less Kia yes­ter­day but found ways to come away vic­to­ri­ous, 118-112, and se­cure a quar­ter­fi­nals berth in the PBA Gov­er­nors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Beer­men rode on June Mar Fa­jardo’s dom­i­nance in the fourth quar­ter to sur­vive the Pi­canto af­ter be­ing down 10 points late in the third and become the fifth team to se­cure a quar­ters berth in the sea­son-ending con­fer­ence.

Fa­jardo fin­ished with 41 points – two shy of ty­ing his ca­reer-high – while adding 16 re­bounds as San Miguel forged a tie with TNT KaTropa for fourth place at 6-3.

Ar­wind San­tos came off the bench to score 15 points, in­clud­ing a three­p­ointer that put San Miguel ahead 112-106 with 1:34 left, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for Kia to catch up.

Im­port Geron John­son scored 42 points for Kia but failed to sus­tain its form af­ter a strong third quar­ter al­lowed the Pi­canto to take sev­eral 10-point leads, the last at 80-70 on Nico Elorde’s layup with 1:44 left in the pe­riod.

Mean­while, the PBA re­turns to the Ynares Cen­ter in An­tipolo City to­day for a pair of cru­cial games.

Black­wa­ter looks to com­plete the quar­ter­fi­nal cast with a vic­tory over skid­ding Glob­alPort in the 4:30 p.m. cur­tain­raiser while Kristofer Acox makes his de­but for Star, which plays TNT KaTropa at 6:45 p.m. in a bat­tle of two teams vy­ing for spots in the top four.

TNT has won five of its last six games, in­clud­ing Wed­nes­day’s 112107 tri­umph over NLEX in a re­sult that came af­ter trad­ing vet­eran main­stay Ranidel de Ocampo to Mer­alco.

De­spite the re­cent form, KaTropa coach Nash Racela is still find­ing some­thing from his team, say­ing: “The ear­lier we turn the cor­ner, the bet­ter chance that we will have es­pe­cially go­ing to the play­offs.”

Star snapped a three-game los­ing skid Fri­day with a 109-86 rout of Glob­alPort at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum with Malcolm Hill fir­ing 32 points in his fi­nal game be­fore be­ing re­placed by Acox.

Acox, a 23-year-old from Ice­land, hopes to be the right mix for Star, which is hav­ing a see­saw cam­paign with Cin­meon Bow­ers and Hill as im­ports.

Allein Ma­liksi plays for the first time for Black­wa­ter af­ter last week’s trade with Star, hop­ing to help his new team clinch a quar­ters berth.

Black­wa­ter is in eighth place at 4-5, one-game above Glob­alPort (3-6) and 1 1/2-game ahead of Alaska (3-7).

Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 118 – Fa­jardo 41, Wat­son 16, Las­siter 16, San­tos 15, Ross 15, Cabag­not 11, Tu­bid 2, Espinas 2, Heru­ela 0, Pes­sumal 0, Rosser 0.

KIA 112 – John­son 42, Yee 18, Corpuz 15, Pa­ni­amo­gan 14, Celda 9, Elorde 7, Salva 3, Cam­son 2, Balles­teros 2, Jaime 0, Deutch­man 0.

Quar­ters: 25-25; 45-50; 7884; 118-112.

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