Fajardo tows San Miguel past Meralco in Semis Game 1

San Miguel emerged victorious in a hard-fought battle against Rain or Shine, edging out a 101-98 win to kick off their PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup semifinals series with a bang at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Although the Beermen held the lead for the majority of Game One, the outcome was uncertain until Rain or Shine guard Andrei Caracut narrowly missed a crucial three-pointer in the final moments of the game.

June Mar Fajardo led the charge for San Miguel with an impressive stat line of 23 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks.

With their sights set on extending their lead in the best-of-seven series, the Beermen will look to secure a 2-0 advantage in the upcoming game on Sunday at MOA Arena.

Despite establishing an eight-point lead at 97-89 with four minutes left on the clock, San Miguel faced resistance from Rain or Shine, who refused to back down.

Fajardo’s dominance in the paint proved to be a game-changer, especially as Rain or Shine’s big men struggled with foul trouble while trying to contain the seven-time PBA MVP.

Don Trollano contributed 17 points and six rebounds for Rain or Shine, while Marcio Lassiter chipped in with 16 points, shooting an impressive 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Gian Mamuyac led the scoring for Rain or Shine with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Beau Belga added 17 points despite the team’s defeat.

Belga’s three-point shooting, including a key basket that briefly gave Rain or Shine the lead, showcased the Elasto Painters’ determination to push the Beermen to their limits. However, Fajardo’s dominant performance ultimately proved to be the deciding factor in securing the crucial Game One victory for the defending champs.

The scores:

San Miguel 101 – Fajardo 23, Trollano 17, Lassiter 16, Romeo 14, Perez 13, Tautuaa 7, Brondial 6, Teng 3, Cruz 2, Enciso 0, Ross 0.

Rain or Shine 98 – Mamuyac 20, Belga 17, Clarito 13, Santillan 13, Caracut 9, Datu 6, Demusis 6, Borboran 5, Ildefonso 4, Asistio 3, Norwood 2, Nocum 0, Paredes 0.

Quarterscores: 31-24, 49-44, 82-77, 101-98.

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