SEEMINGLY found their footing after a rough start to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup, the defending champions San Miguel Beermen look to extend the winning run they are currently having when they collide with the Columbian Dyip in the 7 p.m. main game today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Opened their campaign in the midseason PBA tournament with three straight losses, the Beermen have since won back-to-back matches to improve to 2-3 and serve notice to the rest of the league that the “sleeping giant” may have awaken.
The most recent of San Miguel’s victories came at the expense of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, a hard-earned 107-94 overtime win in their battle of struggling teams on June 3.
San Miguel had to dig deep to pull out the win, needing to make a crucial basket in the dying seconds of regulation before pulling away in extra period.
Import Renaldo Balkman led all scorers with 27 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
June Mar Fajardo had a monster double-double of 24 points and 19 rebounds while Arwind Santos added 19 points.
“We really needed the win because falling down to 1-4 [with a loss] would have made things harder for us. So everybody had to work hard. It was a total team effort for us,” Mr. Fajardo, named player of the game, said after the game.
Incidentally, the 24-19 statline of reigning league most valuable player Fajardo notched for him the PBA player of the week honors.
The numbers padded Mr. Fajardo’s numbers to 16.5 points and 16 rebounds in their last two games, all victories, while also dishing out three assists and having 1.5 blocks per game.
In winning the award, the “Kraken” beat out teammate Santos, TNT’s Terrence Romeo and Jericho Cruz, Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan, Alaska’s Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero and Meralco’s Chris Newsome and Anjo Caram.
Out to derail San Miguel while infusing much-needed boost to its suddenly sliding campaign is the Columbian.
Started out with a 3-2 record in its first five games, the Dyip dropped their last two games to fall below .500 at 3-4 and is danger of falling out of the playoff picture.
Columbian was blown off the court by the TNT KaTropa, 123-95, on June 1, something that left Dyip coach Ricky Dandan very disappointed, leading to him not talking to his team postgame.
The Dyip trailed from start to finish and were not able to really get their game to take off.
Import John Fields had 34 points and 20 rebounds but was not able to get much support from the rest of the team.
Meanwhile, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (3-2) try to get back on the winning track when they take on the still-winless Blackwater Elite (0-7) in the 4:30 p.m. curtain-raiser.