June Mar Fajardo and frontcourt partner Vic Manuel combined for 48 big points as San Miguel opened its campaign in the PBA’s 47th season with a 108-100 victory over Phoenix Super LPG, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The league’s only 6-time MVP finished with 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field for a sizzling 81% clip. He also had 15 boards, 6 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in 34 minutes of action.
Manuel, meanwhile, had the same output on a similarly efficient shooting night as the 6-foot-4 native of Licab, Nueva Ecija made 11 of 15 attempts in only 24 minutes of play.
“Once na natapos ‘yung SEA Games, June Mar and Mo [Tautuaa] were able to get to the team to practice. It gave us confidence kasi excited ‘yung mga players dahil sa nilaro ni June Mar,” said SMB coach Leo Austria during the post-game presser.
“But I told them that June Mar is [just] another player of the team. We still have to work hard dahil alam ko na hinihingi ng mga players mismo na this is our conference. They initiated this kind of preparation,” he added.
CJ Perez added 19 points and 4 steals for the Beermen while Chris Ross chipped in 17 to go with a game-high 12 assists and 7 rebounds. Bigs Rodney Brondial and Tautuaa contributed 9 and 8 markers, respectively.
Matthew Wright led the Phoenix charge with 22 points while rookie Tyler Tio added 17 on a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Neophyte Encho Serrano and Jason Perkins finished with 15 apiece.
The Beermen will try to make it back-to-back when they take on the NLEX Road Warriors on Friday, June 10, 3:00pm at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
San Miguel 108 – Fajardo 24, Manuel 24, Perez 19, Ross 17, Brondial 9, Tautuaa 8, Lassiter 6, Pessumal 1, Enciso 0.
Phoenix Super LPG 100 – Wright 22, Tio 17, Serrano 15, Perkins 15, Jazul 9, Mocon 5, Lalata 5, Pascual 4, Manganti 3, Melecio 3, Muyang 2, Rios 0, Garcia 0, Porter 0.
Quarterscores: 23-25, 54-51, 83-77, 108-100.