(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Fajardo leads as Beermen lean on offense to frustrate Batang Pier
The GlobalPort Batang Pier have been playing this conference without Terrence Romeo and despite playing without the three-time scoring champion, the Batang Pier have managed to win 2 games: one against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the recent one against the Blackwater Elites. But facing the league-leading San Miguel Beermen without The Bro, it's a daunting task.
The San Miguel Beermen reminded everyone that they are still the best all-Filipino crew today as they demolished the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 107-93, to keep their clean state and improve to 5-0 in the Philippine Cup.
What were the differences?
The Kraken's MVP Numbers
June Mar Fajardo is a 4-time MVP for one good reason: he's virtually unstoppable as nobody in the league has the height and the strength to go one-on-one against the Kraken on the defensive end. Against the helpless Batang Pier, Fajardo reminded everyone why he is the MVP as he scored 34 points on 14 for 18 field goal shooting. He added 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to complete an all-around performance in a game when he played for 40 efficient minutes.
SMB's Offensive Dominance was Everywhere
The Beermen shot 53% from the field: 59% from the 2-point area and 36% from the three-point line. San Miguel was also the more aggressive team in terms attacking the defense which led to fouls and trips to the free throw line as the Beermen made 13 of their 24 attempts from the line.
Brian Heruela's 17 Points
If there's one flaw that has been noticed in the Beermen despite having the best starting 5, it's their lack of consistent firepower off the bench. Fortunately, Brian Heruela stepped up against the Batang Pier and scored 17 big points off the bench. That's 17 of the 23 points of the entire bench of Leo Austria. He added 5 assists and 6 STEALS. In case you don't know, Heruela came into the game, just averaging 4 points per game so if he can keep this level of consistency, there's no stopping the Beermen this conference.
The Beermen will play two big games next: one against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and the other one against the Magnolia Hotshots. Will San Miguel win both games? Possibly. They have Fajardo. They have 5 players who can fill out the entire PBA First Team. What can possibly stop the Beermen? Only themselves.