SMB stifles Alaska anew in OT, forces Game 6 of PH Cup Finals in Fajardo's return

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Coach Leo Austria pulled a huge gamble on Wednesday night by giving Junemar Fajardo playing time in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals with San Miguel trailing Alaska, 1-3, in the series.

The huge risk paid dividends as the Beermen sparkled anew in overtime.

San Miguel once again proved deadly in the extra five minutes as it once again stopped Alaska from clinching the championship with an 86-73 rout at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fajardo, playing for the first time since hurting his left knee in Game 6 of the Beermen's semifinal clash with the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, was apparently still not 100 percent in his return but provided the much needed boost as they are now halfway from a historic comeback from 0-3 down.

Three nights after the Beermen took over in extra time to steal Game 4 from the Aces, they did an encore, blanking them in the first 3:45 of the period and never looked back.

Alaska had a chance to finish it off in regulation after fighting back from a late five-point cushion and had the ball with 20.7 seconds left.

But Calvin Abueva badly missed a hook shot and the game went to overtime, where San Miguel dominated from start to finish.

Arwind Santos led the Beermen, who forced a Game 6 despite trailing 0-3 for the first time since the 1997 Commissioner's Cup, with 22 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and three steals, while Fajardo contributed 13 points and four rebounds.

Vic Manuel tallied a season-high 25 markers along with 13 boards and a dime for the Aces, who were actually the team that won two straight games despite getting buried in a 0-3 hole during the said finals that Ginebra, formerly Gordon's Gin, would still clinch with a Game 6 win.

San Miguel and Alaska will clash anew on Friday at the said venue.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 86-Santos 22, Fajardo 13, Cabagnot 12, Lassiter 11, Espinas 8, Ross 8, Lutz 6, De Ocampo 4, Reyes 1, Tubid 1, Arana 0, Heruela 0

Alaska 73-Manuel 25, Abueva 12, Banchero 10, Jazul 9, Thoss 4, Casio 3, Exciminiano 3, Hontiveros 3, Baguio 2, Menk 2, Baclao 0, Eman 0

Quarterscores: 23-20, 36-36, 52-55, 67-67, 86-73

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