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Fajardo’s 21 pushes SMB over GlobalPort to start title defense

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In the first out-of-town game of the new season, the reigning Filipino Cup champions San Miguel Beermen opened their title defense on a winning note against the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 96-87 at the USEP Gym in Davao City.

Unselfish basketball propelled the Beermen to a 13-6 start despite JuneMar Fajardo’s three early misses from the field. GlobalPort managed to tie the game at the 4:48 mark and continued their run in the tail-end of the quarter. Batang Pier led by six at the end of the first period, which 11 of their points came from their energetic second unit.

By the 8:25 mark of the second quarter, San Miguel countered with their own bench attack as they tied the game at 30 with a Marcio Lassiter triple. Gabby Espinas also went on a run and provided eight points in the Beermen’s 19-7 run to end the first half. On the other end, GlobalPort struggled with their turnovers and they only had four assists at halftime.

The Beermen continued to push the tempo in the second half with their fast offense leading to quick buckets on their end. Former SMB players Rico Maierhofer and Joseph Yeo managed to slice the lead of San Miguel down to eight a couple of times, but Alex Cabagnot and Chris Lutz managed to make the shots to quell the rally.

San Miguel built its biggest lead of the match with 10:10 left in the game courtesy of a basket by Lassiter, making it a 79-60 affair. Jay Washington then would make timely shots to lead a 14-5 run that gave the Batang Pier one last hurrah to trim the lead. However, the duo of Arwin Santos and JuneMar Fajardo manned the paint well to make key offensive rebounds down the stretch while free throws by Alex Cabagnot kept their opponents at bay.

The Beermen were plus-15 from downtown as they shot 10/31 compared to GlobalPort’s 5/20 clip. They also doubled the number of blocks with 8, while Batang Pier had four. In addition, they scored seven more points from the free throw line.

Fajardo ended the game with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 17 rebounds and three blocks. Cabagnot added 19 markers and eight dimes for the Beermen. On the other end, Stanley Pringle topped GlobalPort with 20 points, 8 rebounds and three assists. Crowd-favorite Terrence Romeo struggled all game long against SMB’s defense as the National team player finished with only five points and took only eight shots.

The defending champs will have the Meralco Bolts as its next assignment on Oct 28, 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while GlobalPort look to bounce back against the Star Hotshots on Oct 30, 7pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The scores:
San Miguel(96) – Fajardo 21, Cabagnot 19, Santos 11, Lassiter 10, Espinas 10, Lutz 9, Reyes 4, Heruela 3, Arana 3, De Ocampo 3, Tubid 2, Ross 2
GlobalPort(87) – Pringle 20, Jensen 16, Yeo 13, Kramer 10, Maierhofer 6, Washington 5, Uyloan 5, Romeo 5, Mamaril 4, Taha 2, Pena 0, Paniamogan 0, Sumang 0

Quarterscores: 20-26, 49-37, 71-58, 96-87

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