Import Ivan Aska provided the energy on both ends of the floor while June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez were there to back him up as San Miguel Beer rolled to a 93-83 victory over Meralco in the Philippine Basketball Association Commssioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It was a terrific outing for the Beermen, who were coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to NLEX a few days ago in a game where they once led by as much as 19 points.
This time, the Beermen made sure there won’t be an endgame meltdown.
Aska was intensity personified and his effort was clearly felt by the Beermen.
He pumped in 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and showcased more than what San Miguel had asked for.
With Aska taking charge, the Beermen were able to overcome the loss of Terrence Romeo and his protege, rookie Kyt Jimenez.
Romeo had to leave the game late in the second period after injuring his knee, leaving his legion of fans wondering about his future.
For the most part last season, Romeo was sidelined by a series of injuries.
Jimenez also left the game after receiving an accidental hit on his forehead by Cliff Hodge which sent the flashy newcomer crashing on the floor.
Their departure left San Miguel with a decimated roster since key Vic Manuel, Marcio Lassiter and Jericho Cruz as well as new recruit Jeron Teng were also sidelined by injuries.
Manuel underwent knee procedure and will be out of the tournament while the rest of the other injured players are expected to return anytime soon.
Nevertheless, the Beermen buckled down to work as Aska, Perez and Fajardo connived for the most part of the match.
Fajardo was his usual dominant self inside the shaded lane and finished with 17 points and pulled down 15 rebounds while Perez contributed 16 points.
“For me, injuries are not a concern because it’s also an opportunity for other players to step up,” said San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent.
True enough, the Beermen responded and brought their A-game and even went on to beat the Bolts in rebounding, a facet of the game that they always excel in.
On Sunday, the Beermen outrebounded the Bolts, 54-45 and they also slowed down the production of Meralco import Suleiman Braimoh.
Averaging 37 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games, Braimoh was only good for 15 points and 12 boards against the Beermen and was held scoreless in the fourth.