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SMB: Still sharp and dangerous

San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardoblocks Phoenix’s Willy Wilson during their PBA All-Filipino Cup game last Sundayat Smart Ara neta Coliseum. The Beermen won 104-96. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardoblocks Phoenix’s Willy Wilson during their PBA All-Filipino Cup game last Sundayat Smart Ara neta Coliseum. The Beermen won 104-96. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)

By JONAS TERRADO

San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardoblocks Phoenix’s  Willy Wilson during their PBA All-Filipino Cup game last Sundayat Smart Ara neta Coliseum. The Beermen won 104-96. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo blocks Phoenix’s Willy Wilson during their PBA All-Filipino Cup game last Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Beermen won 104-96. (MB photo | Rio Deluvio)
The San Miguel Beermen looked almost like the team with a clear chance at winning a fourth consecutive PBA Philippine Cup crown after winning their opening assignment against the Phoenix Fuel Masters even when one of their major stars felt there’s plenty left to be desired.

“I thought we looked pretty decent out there but there’s a lot to improve,” Ross said after the Beermen’s 104-96 win Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

San Miguel bucked a tight first half to take control of the contest, then saw off Phoenix’s late attempt at a comeback to take a positive first step in its drive to become the first team to win four straight championships in an all-Filipino conference.

The result came after what coach Leo Austria described as the team’s worst offseason marred by a loss to the Kia Picanto one of their preseason games. But like in the past, he saw his core players deliver the majority of the team’s production.

June Mar Fajardo overcame Phoenix’s gang defending on him and had 23 points and 16 rebounds while Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos also reached the double figures to weather off Phoenix’s stingy defense under new coach Louie Alas.

“Fortunately, all of our starters scored in double figures. I did not expect they will score a lot because this is the worst offseason we have,” said Austria, whose starters accounted for all but nine of the Beermen’s scoring output.

One aspect San Miguel is likely improve is the 22 turnovers it committed against Phoenix’s full-court pressure, another example of why the team expects its journey for another championship would be harder than expected.

“Walang madali,” said Fajardo. “Mahirap yun para sa amin kasi nga yung ibang team, pinaghahandaan kami. Yung ibang teams, lumalakas so hindi naming kailangan magrelax.”

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Written by Tempo Online

This handout photo released on December 18, 2017 by Philippine National Police Regional Office VIII (PNP-8) via their Facebook account shows rescuers carrying a body bag containing the body of a resident killed by a landslide following heavy rains triggered by Tropical Storm Kai-Tak in the town of Naval in the central Philippine province of Biliran. (Handout / PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE REGIONAL OFFICE VIII / AFP)

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