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Complete San Miguel experience shows up in Game 4



Lost in San Miguel’s completeness when they defeated Rain or Shine, 105-92 in Game 4 was the fact June Mar Fajardo still carved his way for 33 points, 16 rebounds, and six blocked shots.

It was a relatively quiet night for Fajardo, looking at his gargantuan semi-finals stats but it is the better way for San Miguel, and the way it should be as far as head coach Leo Austria is concerned.

The win was the most impressive for the Beermen against the Elasto Painters in the conference, and the complementary support Austria wanted the team to show finally came at a crucial time to allow the Beermen to tie the series at 2-2.

“That is the thing missing from our team before,” Austria said. “You cannot identify who will perform at this kind of intensity. Even ako nangangapa. Pero this time nakita niyo, maliit ang rotation. Slowly, we are getting familiarity to each and everyone of the players. Before, sabog kami eh.”

Austria added the Game 3 loss turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” as the Beermen were able to talk among themselves about what to do the next time out.

“I think it is a blessing in disguise we lost the third game because lahat nagsalita about their opinion. I am happy.”

Aside from Fajardo’s usual numbers, four other Beermen scored in double-digits in a complete effort. Marcio Lassiter dropped 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter alone, and it changed a lot in the game trend.

“When we are all attacking and making shots, we are harder to guard and everyone on the floor is a threat so it keeps the defense guessing,” Lassiter, who nailed all of his four three-point tries, said.

“We just need to read the defense and see how the play us, and see what we can get out of it.”Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Complete San Miguel experience shows up in Game 4

Aside from Lassiter, Arwind Santos (19 points, seven rebounds), Chris Ross (13 points, five rebounds, three assists), and Alex Cabagnot (12 points, five rebounds) all provided the ample support.

Austria kept his rotation short, with five players playing 30 minutes or more. But it did not matter as long as everyone contributes. The said completeness was missing during the past two games, but now that the Beermen have showed it again, it puts a lot of pressure on the Elasto Painters.

“Mas maganda talaga. Nakita naman natin, si June Mar, wala kaming duda na kaya niyang kunin ang puntos at rebounds, pero kung may paraan na ma-involve kami, ako, sina Marcio, mas mahirap kami talunin. So discipline lang, doon kami magsisimula,” reigning Philippine Cup Finals MVP Santos said.

Even Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao admitted his squad had a difficult time stopping the Beermen if all key players threaten to score.

“We have to shut down the threes early. We survived Fajardo scoring 40 points and still win. But we cannot survive both Fajardo scoring in the 30s then somebody scoring in the 20s, 18s, 12s. So hindi bale si Fajardo na lang, huwag lang kumo-connect yung sa labas nila,” Guiao said, adding it will be a matter of choosing which poison now for the team.

“We will take that risk which is our game plan the past few games anyway. So ganun lang yun.”Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Complete San Miguel experience shows up in Game 4

Cabagnot shared it is a positive sign for the Beermen to finally show such strength, but he does not want the team to get ahead and hopes to do it again the next time.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up of saying it is consistent because we only did it today, so sana matuloy next game. Para masabi na namin na consistent,” he said.

With the series now even and the Beermen responding to the Elasto Painters’ challenge, the next few games will be an exciting clash of which side showcases more weapons.

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