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Fresh from SEABA stint, Fajardo powers Beermen over Road Warriors

San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo battles NLEX's Wayne Chism for a rebound in Friday night's PBA action at the Cuneta Astrodome | PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — June Mar Fajardo rejoined his mother club the day after the completion of Gilas Pilipinas’ SEABA title run and provided his huge post presence as San Miguel Beer trampled NLEX, 114-108, to boost its drive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Without a rest from his Gilas stint, Fajardo played his usual minutes with San Miguel, staying on the court until he incurred a sixth and final foul with 1:36 left to play.

Again drawing tremendous lift from the lethal frontline tandem of Charles Rhodes and Fajardo, the Beermen enhanced their bid for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with 6-1 win-loss record.

NLEX, meanwhile, remained in chase of an elusive first win with only two games left in the mid-season tourney.

Fajardo collected 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks, helping the Beermen bounce back from a loss to the TNT KaTropa Texters on May 5. The Cebuano behemoth was then serving duty to Gilas already.

“I’m saluting June Mar, he showed his professionalism. Even as he played hard in SEABA, he opted not to rest. And we really need him as this is a virtual must-win game for us,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

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“This is a key win especially as we need some momentum going to our crucial games against Ginebra and Alaska. It’s a virtual playoff time for us,” Austria added.

The Beermen did play with a great sense of urgency, storming away right at the start then leading by as many as 24 before simply going through the motion at the finish.

Rhodes and backcourt players Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross churned out double-double numbers with Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos contributing double-digit outputs.

Rhodes delivered 37 points and 19 rebounds, Ross piled up 15 markers, 11 assists and seven boards while Cabagnot logged in 12 points and 10 dish-offs.

Brian Heruela, JayR Reyes, Keith Agovida and Gabby Espinas played backup roles with Ronald Tubid, Yancy de Ocampo and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser out on account of injuries.

Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan finally played their first game with the Road Warriors but not Larry Fonacier who’s set to under a procedure on his left ankle. He’s joining NLEX already by the third conference.

Meanwhile, Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario also rejoin their team fresh from their Gilas stint as TNT KaTropa tangles with Alaska Milk in a crucial Petron Blaze Saturday Special at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Legazpi, Albay.

The Texters are going all out against the Aces as they’re determined to also stay in the battle for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarters. The Aces, on the other hand, are out to finally formalize a quarterfinal entry after three failed tries.

The Aces dropped their last three games against Meralco, Phoenix and Ginebra after a 4-0 start in the tourney with wins over GlobalPort, Blackwater, Mahindra and Rain or Shine.

The Texters have also taken a slide in losing two of their last three outings. They hope to regain lost ground with the help of new import Joshua Smith, a huge player who played college ball with the UCLA and Georgetown.

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