MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – June Mar Fajardo posted a double-double effort of 23 points and 21 rebounds to lead the San Miguel Beermen to a 104-88 rout of TNT KaTropa in Game 6 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Saturday, February 18 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Fajardo, who also had 4 blocks, chose the right time to post his 14th double-double of the conference as the victory spelled the extension of the best-of-7 series to a final winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday, February 20.
Fajardo's 20-20 game also stretched the league record for most such outings to 11 among locals, per PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
"In spite of a below par performance in the first half, in the second half, I think we did what was expected of us," said head coach Leo Austria in Filipino and English.
"I hope it happens again next game for us. In the fourth quarter we gained momentum. In the start of the third quarter, we were down by 10 points then it became 12, but the players didn’t give up."
"I think the players are motivated after our first half namin because we went back to who we were supposed to be. Especially, when it came to that situation, we were down and we knew we could come back. That's what happened. We were focused."
TNT led by 8 points, 53-45, at the half before SMB rolled to a 59-35 second half for the big win.
Arwind Santos poured 21 points plus 9 rebounds while going 6-of-13 from the field. Alex Cabagnot scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth to keep TNT at bay, while Chris Ross chipped in 14 markers and 5 assists.
Jayson Castro led the KaTropa with 19 points and 5 dimes but was taken out with 7 minutes remaining. He did not identify his exact injury when talking to reporters after the game, but did say it involved his left leg.
TNT missed the services of forward Troy Rosario, who attended his wedding in Quezon City.
Quarters cores: 26-27, 45-53, 70-69, 104-88.