San Miguel 118 – Kia 112
June Mar Fajardo was a beast in the San Miguel Beermen’s game against the Kia Picanto. He erupted for 41 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to power the Beermen to their sixth. San Miguel needed every bit of Fajardo’s dominance to counter a fast start by the Picanto.
Kia, desperate for their first win, played excellently in the first three quarters of the game. Behind Geron Johnson’s prolific scoring, the Picanto were able to build a double-digit lead in the third third quarter after a Mark Yee three-pointer. Fajardo got the Beermen run started midway through the third period. He picked an offensive rebound from midair and powered his way inside for the put back. He continued to pick up scraps as San Miguel entered the fourth quarter down by six, 84-78.
Fajardo exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter as San Miguel finally took control of the game. The Beermen repeatedly found their MVP in good position inside as the Kraken feasted on the smaller Kia frontline and gave San Miguel the lead. He scored an inside bucket to start a 12-5 fourth quarter run that would put them in the driver’s seat for good.
Ginebra 89 – Rain or Shine 82
Barangay Ginebra bounced back from their second loss of the conference by winning a crucial game over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. With that win, Ginebra regained the number one spot in the standings and closed in on a top four slot for the all-important twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Ginebra was able to build a 16-point lead as their offense was humming in the third quarter. They concentrated on attacking the inside with smart high-low plays from their big men. Their defense was also on point as they forced bad shots and turnovers which they converted to easy fast break baskets. Justin Brownlee found his range early in the game and hit outside shots during the 9-0 third quarter run.
Rain or Shine also needed the win to boost their playoff hopes. They went on a 15-3 run in the fourth quarter to chip away at the Ginebra lead and cut it down to just three points. But Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio and Brownlee teamed up to bring the Ginebra lead back up to comfortable levels.
Thompson got a step on his defender and drove in for the layup. Brownlee followed with a strong reverse layup. Tenorio finished the run with a spin move that freed him up for a midrange jumper to extend the lead back up to eight points with under a minute left in the game. That was the dagger that ensured a win for Ginebra. Brownlee led Ginebra with 28 points while Tenorio led all locals with 16 points. Thompson was all over the court with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists.