Robbie Herndon redeemed himself in overtime and powered San Miguel past TNT, 108-100, in Game 3 of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup Finals, Friday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The 29-year old Fil-Am, who was acquired by the Beermen during the break in exchange for 2 future second round picks, committed a crucial error which resulted in a technical foul with just 11 ticks left on the game clock and the Beermen up by just a point, 94-93.
TNT wingman RR Pogoy canned the freebie to tie the count and eventually send the game into an extra period.
Herndon, however, made up for the costly blunder by scoring 5 straight points to give his team some room which proved to be enough as the flagship team of the SMC group snatched the win and seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
He finished with 8 points in 8 minutes including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc in his very first outing in the championship round.
“It was more so that mistake I made with the technical. I had to make up for it so I was a little more motivated,” said Herndon shortly after the match.
SMB man main June Mar Fajardo had a monster performance as the league’s only 6-time MVP finished with 27 points and 27 rebounds to go with 2 assists and a block in 47 minutes of action.
“Kailangan ko lang kunin ‘yung rebounds, ‘yun lang ang trabaho ko eh. Kailangan ko i-boxout kasi maganda ‘yung depensa ng TNT sa akin, nahihirapan ako maka-score, nahihirapan ako makatanggap sa poste,” said Fajardo during the post-game press conference.
“I’m so happy for them dahil gusto nilang manalo. I would like to congratulate not only June Mar, that’s given na, but Robbie Herdon for being patient. Nagkaroon ng opportunity and he was the big revelation para sa team,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
Jericho Cruz backstopped Fajardo with 18 points while Marcio Lassiter, Vic Manuel and CJ Perez chipped in 13, 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Pogoy once again led tha charge for the Tropang Giga with 25 points spiked by 4-of-10 shooting from the 3-point country. Mikey Williams and Jayson Castro added 17 points apiece in the losing cause.
The Beermen will attempt to win three straight and move one away from the title when the two sides clash anew on Sunday, August 28, 6:03pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.