Fajardo returns to the San Miguel lineup off the bench after missing first four games due to left knee injury.
CUBAO, PHILIPPINES – San Miguel Beer kept the Alaska Aces champagne on ice, pulling off a tight 86-73 overtime victory as it continues its “beer-acle” to stay alive in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The San Miguel Beermen received a huge boost with the return of center June Mar Fajardo, which inspired their cause to force a Game 6 on Friday, January 29, at 7:00 p.m. (GMT+8), also at The Big Dome.
With the game in the balance, San Miguel Beer pulled a quick 11-0 run in the first 3:57 in the extra five minutes to gain complete control of the ballgame after regulation ended at 67-all.
Arwind Santos played inspired ball, scoring 22 points with 16 rebounds and four blocked shots in his best game of the series. Fajardo marked his return to the San Miguel lineup with 13 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench, while Alex Cabagnot added 12.
“Today was anybody’s ballgame. We were inspired by June Mar. He wanted to be on the court,” said Austria. “I have to salute our players, they understood our situation. They have a heart of a champion.”
In the first half, San Miguel forced Alaska to play catch-up basketball, but allowed the Aces finally get close late in regulation led by the fearless inside play by Vic Manuel, who scored nine points in the final frame to help send the game into overtime.
Manuel registered a career-high 25 points on 11-for-18 shooting with 13 rebounds for the Alaska Aces, while Calvin Abueva followed with 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.
This was the first time back-to-back games of a PBA Finals series went into overtime, and the Alaska Aces hold the distinct misfortune of losing both matches.
SAN MIGUEL 86 – Santos 22, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Lassiter 11, Espinas 8, Ross 8, Lutz 6, De Ocampo 4, Reyes 1, Tubid 1, Arana 0, Heruela 0.
ALASKA 73 – Manuel 25, Abueva 12, Banchero 10, Jazul 9, Thoss 4, Casio 3, Exciminiano 3, Hontiveros 3, Baguio 2, Menk 2, Baclao 0, Eman 0.
Quarters: 23-20, 36-36, 52-55, 67-67, 86-73