SAN Miguel Beer wanted more momentum going to a tough stretch and surely got it Wednesday.
June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos churned out double-doubles in leading the Beermen's 99-80 shellacking of Blackwater as the former continued their rise in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Yanres Sports Arena in Pasig.
In his best game in the conference thus far, Fajardo scored 16 points and hauled down 11 rebounds while Santos collected 10 and 12 along with five assists as SMB racked up its third straight win in four games and braced it for the game against archrival Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
Simon Enciso scattered a game-high 25 points anchored on seven three-pointers, but Blackwater could not reprise what it did so well in the second quarter and thus absorbed a fourth loss in as many starts that pushed it deeper in the cellar.
Despite his team posting as much as two 25-point spreads in the fourth quarter before cruising to the wire-to-wire victory, SMB coach Leo Austria maintained fashioning the win was not as easy as it looked.
"We knew from the start this will not be an easy game for us. Nakita naman sa first half," said Austria, referring to the instance when his team's 12-point lead got easily razed by the Bossing.
"I know Blackwater is really trying hard to exert effort and they showed it this afternoon," added Austria. "Good thing our veterans stepped up."
Foremost among those was Alex Cabagnot, who laced his 12-point performance with nine in the third period that stretched SMB's lead from 39-38 at halftime to as much as 69-51.
Austria opted to rest his starters to start the fourth period and there was no need for any of them to be fielded back as the Beermen's relievers, led by Paul Zamar and Von Pessumal, joined hands to stretch their lead to 82-57 and 88-63.
The win could be costly, though, as Mo Tautuaa suffered a right shoulder injury and had to leave the game for good with still 1:15 left.
"Our PT (physical therapist) will assess kung ano nangyari sa kanya," said Austria. "Kailangan namin ang tulad ni Mo against Ginebra because of their big men."
Still, Austria said the win is dedicated to one of his assistants, Peter Martin, who also suffered a leg injury in one of the team's practices.
San Miguel 99 - Fajardo 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 12, Zamar 11, Pessumal 10, Santos 10, Ross 5, Gotladera 2, Comboy 2, Gamalinda 2, Tautuaa 2, Romeo 0, Sena 0.
Blackwater 80 - Enciso 25, Tolomia 12, Nabong 12, Daquioag 9, Desiderio 5, Escoto 5, Canaleta 4, Amer 4, Magat 2, Acuno 2, Paras 0, Semerad 0, Gabriel 0, Dennison 0, Torralba 0.
Quarterscores: 20-11, 39-38, 69-53, 99-80.