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Hot shooting night for SMB in Game 6 a long time coming says Leo Austria

Leo Austria is pleased with San Miguel's hot shooting against TNT in Game 6. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--June Mar Fajardo is back in his usual groove this PBA Philippine Cup, even winning the Best Player of the Conference for it.

However, Coach Leo Austria believes the rest of the San Miguel Beermen should step up as well if they are to compete for the championship.

With their backs against the wall, Austria got what he wanted on Friday night in Game 6 of the finals against the TNT Tropang Giga.

While Fajardo was held to just 10 points--although he made all his four field goals and two free throws--the other Beermen came alive.

Marcio Lassiter led SMB with 22 points, while Simon Enciso and CJ Perez each added 20, and they did so with an emphatic three-point shooting performance.

The three players combined for all but one of the 16 made triples by the Beermen all game long, the other coming from Jericho Cruz.

Lassiter and Enciso each made six threes, the first time two teammates each made the same number of long toms or even more since Chris Ross and Terrence Romeo did the trick for SMB in 2019.

Perez, on the other hand, was perfect from beyond the arc, going 3-for-3.

"We will not concentrate on one player, [which is] June Mar. I want everybody to be involved, especially yung mga shooter namin, and that's what happened tonight," Austria said after the game. "That's what I'm waiting for: for everybody to click."

Highlighting the Beermen's Game 6 win was their hot first quarter, dropping 40 points in total, the most the Tropang Giga gave up in one quarter of a finals game under Coach Chot Reyes.

In jest, Austria believes the Beermen had a great morning before the game.

"I think maganda yung tulog at saka yung breakfast nila, kaya siguro sinwerte kami," he further said.

Turning serious again, Austria continued that Fajardo's contribution will still be there regardless of what happens to his teammates.

"If we need June Mar, every game, andoon naman siya eh," Austria further said.

However, the work is not yet done for SMB as the team only forced a Game 7 on Sunday night back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and based on how TNT still tried to make it a game early in the third quarter, composure is needed for SMB to claw back from 2-3 down and win it all.

"We have to learn from this game because when we were leading by 26 points, all of a sudden naging nine points. Mabuti ang composure namin, nandoon pa rin dahil maybe the experience of some players in the team," Austria further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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