Beermen force a Game 7 to keep their championship defense alive

The San Miguel Beermen are not yet done. Facing elimination from their championship series, the Beermen went on a game-changing run in the fourth quarter to beat the Magnolia Hotshots, 98-86. The series will extend to the full seven games to determine who will be this year’s Philippine Cup Champions.

June Mar Fajardo continued to be the steadying force of the Beermen. He logged 23 points and 18 rebounds, with 11 coming on the offensive end. Marcio Lassiter supported Fajardo with 20 points built on three treys. Chris Ross added 17 points and five triples while Christian Standhardinger contributed 16 off the bench. Jio Jalalon had 17 points and eight assists to lead Magnolia.

The Beermen looked like they shook off the effects from the stunning loss in Game 5 by coming out strong in Game 6. Fajardo continued his dominance inside, opening the game with back-to-back baskets. Lassiter and Standhardinger added key baskets before back-to-back threes from Ross opened up a 10-point lead. Terrence Romeo closed the period with a booming triple to put San Miguel up by 13. They’d hold on to that safe margin for most of the first half.

After trailing by double-digits for most of the game, the Hotshots made their run un the third period. The closed the quarter on a 9-2 run behind hits from Ian Sangalang and Jalalon. The Beermen lead was cut down to just six points after that Magnolia blast.

With the game still in the balance, the Beermen made sure to answer Magnolia’s run with a game-ending one of their own.

Romeo kicked things off with a long three-pointer to open the final period. They clamped down on defense on the other end and forced a 24-second violation. Fajardo scored on a put back to put San Miguel back up by double-digits. San Miguel continued to blitz the Hotshots on defense. They forced two turnovers on the defensive end leading to easy buckets by Ross and Arwind Santos. When the smoke cleared, San Miguel was up by 19 points after a 14-1 blast to open the fourth quarter.

San Miguel was able to keep Magnolia at bay, increasing the lead to as much as 22 points in the period, securing the all-important Game 6 win.