26 points and 27 rebounds.

The only numbers you really need to remember from this game as June Mar Fajardo added to an already impressive MVP-caliber season with probably the best game of his career. That helped the San Miguel Beermen complete a come-from-behind win over the Globalport Batang Pier, 102-99. Also helping the cause were great second half performances from Reggie Williams and Arwind Santos. We’ll get to them in a bit as we review some stats and our keys to the game.


Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

San Miguel Beermen

24 20 37 21

Globalport Batang Pier

27 32 23 17


San Miguel Beermen

48.9% 51.9% 43.6% 22 7 11 11

Globalport Batang Pier

47% 72.4% 29.4% 8 13 19 16

Something that has become the norm in this conference, San Miguel was once again plagued by a slow start. They came out with low energy and an inability to execute on offense as they seemed content on launching jumper after jumper. Their defense wasn’t much better either as Globalport took full advantage in pushing the pace and carving the Beermen from inside the paint. The former looked flat out dominant in the first half, scoring most of their points coming in transition generated from turnovers and missed shots. This ballooned the lead to as much as 17 in the second quarter. San Miguel looked about ready to call it a day until a third quarter explosion led by reigning MVP Santos made it a close match. This paved the way for the Beermen to mount a serious comeback and eventually the win. In the end, San Miguel’s dominance was clearly seen in the rebounding battle, with the Beermen winning it 60-45 (24-15 offensive) which led to a lot of second chance opportunities (22 second chance points), most of them scored by Fajardo.

Reviewing the Keys to the Game

Make it tough for Lowhorn

Unfortunately, it was the other way around as Dior Lowhorn was a match up nightmare in the 1st half. Todd Purves put a combination of Santos, Doug Kramer, and Justin Chua on him to no avail. He simply overpowered them en route to a 24-point, 7-rebound half, shooting 9 of 12 from the field and attempting 9 free throw. The second half defense was much better as they found a simple solution in covering him with 6-10 Fajardo and sending occasional double teams (Santos or Williams), which helped lock him up a bit as he tallied only 14 points (6 of 15 shooting including 2 3-pointers made and 6 free throws attempted) and 3 rebounds.

Lowhorn forced into a few too many jumpers. (Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, Slam Philippines)

Lowhorn forced into a few too many jumpers. (Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, Slam Philippines)

Watch the support

The Beermen were able to somewhat limit the production from locals as they weren’t all too consistent throughout the game. One of the catalysts of that good run was Rudy Lingganay, who had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. He didn’t matter down the stretch though as he only added 2 more points and 1 more rebound to his total. I talked about how they should contain Terrence Romeo, Alex Cabagnot and Jay Washington. Look at their numbers here:


Alex Cabagnot

35 13 34.6% 5 4 6 5

Terrence Romeo

27 11 38.9% 7 3 3 1

Jay Washington

39 14 50.0% 3 10 0 1

Romeo performed right around his average but most of his numbers came in the first half (8 points, 2 assists) while not having much of an impact the rest of the game, including his late-game blunder. Cabagnot on the other hand was plagued by foul trouble in the first half but scored all of his points in the succeeding quarters although on a highly inefficient clip (1 of 5 from 3, 3 of 8 from 2). Washington had a pretty solid outing though and one thing Coach Pido Jarencio tried to do was play him at the 4 alongside Lowhorn, forcing Purves to decide which match up he should go to, ultimately having the slower Fajardo guard Washington for a stretch. Fortunately, Washington could not capitalize as he only made 1 three against him and didn’t take advantage of his quickness.

Local shooting

The three-point shooting from both teams was pretty ugly as they both relied on their inside game. For San Miguel, they shot way below their average at 25 percent. It didn’t help that this was the first time Williams shot less than 50 percent, although a 40 percent clip is still very good. The others didn’t fare much better.


Reggie Williams

2 5

Arwind Santos

1 5

Sol Mercado

1 4

Ronald Tubid

2 6

Chris Lutz

0 4

Chico Lanete

0 1

But as I said, there are just a lack of shooters and they are missing Marcio Lassiter and Paolo Hubalde badly. Fortunately in this game, their inside presence was strong enough to compensate.

Key Match-up

June Mar Fajardo vs. Dior Lowhorn

I think it’s safe to say Fajardo won this one. Lowhorn dominated the scoring but Fajardo was consistent all game long. He also showed some better post defense as he was the primary reason Lowhorn was held to only 14 points in the second half. Before the game he mentioned that he wanted to force San Miguel to put Fajardo on him and I think he bit more than he could chew as he took a lot more jumpers and found it harder to bully his way into the paint.

Game Notes and Observations

 The Kraken

Let us review Fajardo’s game again: 26 points (11 of 18 FGs), 27 rebounds (11 offensive), 4 blocks. His rebounding splits: 31.5/26.7/28.4 he grabbed roughly 3 out of every 10 available rebounds in his 43 minutes of action. For comparison’s sake, the NBA’s best rebounder this season was Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, grabbing 22.7 percent of all available rebounds when he was on the court (17.5 percent offensive, 27.7 percent defensive). That’s how good of a rebounding game Fajardo had. The only negatives on his game were his 4 of 10 free throw shooting and 5 turnovers, although his 4 free throws were the last 4 points of the Beermen that sealed the victory. He was the lone bright spot in the first half as he totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds. It didn’t really matter if it was Lowhorn, Eric Menk, or Jon Dan Salvador, no one could stop him around the paint. I think the only word that can describe him right now is ‘monstrous.’

Imagine this: his previous career high in rebounding was 26 and he was only 2 rebounds away from tying the single-game record set by Macelino Simbulan way back in 1975, the PBA’s maiden season. Every San Miguel fan was rooting for him to break that record, even commentators Quinito Henson and Charlie Cuna were counting down from the 22 rebound mark. Even Asi Taulava, one of his rivals for the BPC award, showed his support via a tweet.

It was one amazing game for Fajardo. His total was 2-3 games worth for most players. I know I said before that he appeared to have stagnated in his development, but watching games like these just make me realize how much better this 24-year old can be.

Just a monster. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, PBA Images)

Just a monster. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, PBA Images)

Better Late than Never

Along with that terrible first half came terrible performances from Santos (4 points), who bricked every shot he took, and Williams (5 points, 4 assists), who was quiet and very passive. They made up a ton for it though in the second half. That huge third quarter run was sparked by a brilliant performance from Santos, who scored 14 big points in that quarter alone. He ended the night with 18 points (eFG% of 40.6 percent) and 11 rebounds (5 offensive), including a huge offensive rebound in the final minute that allowed San Miguel to waste more time off the clock. Another thing I liked was his aggressiveness as he went to the line 8 times, making 5. He just has to remember to crash the boards and get points in the paint instead of settling for midrange jumpers or leaking out.

Williams redeemed himself big time in the second half as he scored 18 points, including a booming 3 pointer in the final minutes. He was Mr. Everything for San Miguel as he finished with a near triple double: 23 points (64.7 percent eFG%), 9 rebounds (3 offensive), and 9 assists. One thing you can never take away from him is his efficient scoring. He just has to be a little more aggressive especially when the offense is struggling. I like that he doesn’t dominate the ball as much as other imports but there are times that the team is better off with him setting the plays.

The 3rd quarter spark. (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano, Spin.ph)

The 3rd quarter spark. (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano, Spin.ph)

Weird Rotations

Partly the reason for San Miguel’s poor play was because of some weird and sudden rotation changes from Purves. When they were struggling to contain Lowhorn in the first quarter, he subbed in Kramer for Ronald Tubid and moved Williams to the 2 (his natural position in the NBA) and Santos to the 3 (a position he has always been uncomfortable playing). I think he overcompensated instead of simply switching match-ups and putting Fajardo on him. At one point, he also had to compensate for the lack of quality backup PGs and had Williams play the point. It’s a position that I personally think he could excel at but it was a little too sudden. All in all, he has to shore up his rotations as it could lead to some sloppy execution.

If games were played in 24 minutes instead of 48, San Miguel would probably be champions by now. Thanks to the brilliant play of their big 3, they managed to escape a deflating loss and now stand at the 4th spot. With positioning still a huge factor, let us hope they don’t come out like this again.