The Kraken practically sat this one out, but it didn’t matter.
San Miguel Beer hardly needed the services of ace big man June Mar Fajardo in a 109-80 romp over the Alex Mallari-less Mahindra Floodbuster Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
“Lahat ng tira pumapasok. Wala na akong masabi sa kanila,” SMB coach Leo Austria said after his team notched its fourth straight win.
The Beermen came out firing on all cylinders with Alex Cabagnot dropping 16 points in the first 12 minutes to match Mahindra’s entire first quarter output. The Crunchman scored all the points in a 14-4 SMB run over the last four minutes that turned an 18-12 lead into a 32-16 advantage heading into the second period.
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game as San Miguel continued its onslaught in the second period, with a balanced attack led by their bench giving them a commanding 55-31 lead at the halftime break. So dominant were the Beermen that Austria was able to rest Fajardo for the majority of the first half. With the outcome hardly in doubt, the three-time MVP stayed on the bench for the rest of the game, logging just nine minutes with one turnover and failing to score a single point or grab a single rebound.
“Kailangan namin i-rest iyan,” Austria said of his prized center. “Medyo bugbog siya. He’s practicing with us and with Gilas. He’s not feeling well so pinahinga na lang namin siya.”
Given the Beermen’s depth and the absence of the Floodbuster’s best player, he wasn’t really needed.
Marcio Lassiter took over the scoring cudgels for the Beermen in the third, burying four triples as the SMB padded its lead to 86-59 heading into the final frame. From there Austria had the luxury of resting his starters as the reserves stretched the lead to as high as 33 points and the Beermen cruised to their fourth straight win to remain the only unbeaten team in the field.
The Floodbuster sank to 1-6, sorely missing the services of leading scorer Mallari, who was sidelined by back spasms.
SAN MIGUEL 109 – Cabagnot 26, Rhodes 20, Lassiter 18, Espinas 12, McCarthy 7, Reyes 6, Tubid 6, Santos 4, Van Opstal 4, Ross 2, Heruela 2, Agovida 2, Fajardo 0, Semerad 0, De Ocampo 0.
MAHINDRA 80 – Wright 16, Celda 13, David 13, Corpuz 10, Revilla 7, Yee 7, Deutchman 6, Salva 4, Guevarra 2, Caperal 2, Paniamogan 0, Galanza 0, Teng 0, Ballesteros 0.
Quarterscores: 32-16, 55-31, 86-59, 109-80
– According to league statistician Fidel Mangonon III, this is the first time in over four years that Fajardo has gone scoreless. The last time was on March 1, 2013 when he played 18 minutes and missed all four of his attempts in a 60-53 SMB win over Air21.
– Despite Fajardo failing to score and Chris Ross chipping in just 2 points, SMB’s starters outscored their Mahindra counterparts 66-33.
– Mahindra playing coach Manny Pacquiao showed up for the first time this conference but wasn’t dressed to play. He left the Cuneta Astrodome immediately after the game.
The Floodbuster shot an awful 3 of 30 from three-point distance.
SMB – April 22 vs. Rain or Shine at the Mall of Asia Arena
Mahindra – April 23 vs. GlobalPort at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum