Fajardo-less SMB still too much for NLEX

San Miguel Beer import Cameron Clark eludes the defense of NLEX forward Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser for an up and under move in the Beermen’s 120-106 victory Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena.

No June Mar Fajardo, no problem for San Miguel Beer.

With the six-time Most Valuable Player sidelined by a medial collateral ligament injury, the Beermen leveled up their performance – from bench players down to import Cameron Clark – and destroyed the NLEX Road Warriors, 120-106, Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup Cup at the Philsports Arena.

In effect, the Beermen denied the Road Warriors an outright twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.

The Beermen drew 32 points from players coming off the bench while Clark posted a new career-high 45 points to more than make up for the absence of the 6-foot-10 Cebuano slotman  .          

“It’s about the players stepping up. They’ve learned how to play and win without the big boy. We just have to really double up on offense and defense,” said San Miguel Beer coach Jorge Gallent.

For Clark, hitting a personal-best playing in the PBA was no big deal, so long as the team wins.

“It doesn’t matter who scores,” added Clark, who defeated the squad he used to play for in the same tournament last season. “We’re focused as a team, so whoever scores big, is no big deal.”

In picking up its latest win, San Miguel Beer has put itself in a much better position to secure the No.1 spot.

The Beermen improved their win-loss record to 8-2 and could end up in a three-way tie for the lead.

SMB will face Rain or Shine on Friday.

NLEX dropped to sixth spot as the Road Warriors ended up their elimination round campaign at 7-4, tied with Meralco and Magnolia.

The Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 120 – Clark 45, Perez 23, Cruz 16, Bulanadi 14, Enciso 8, Lassiter 8, Manuel 4, Tautuaa 2, Ross 0, Romeo 0, Brondial 0

NLEX 106 – Selden Jr. 32, Ganuelas-Rosser 29, Trollano 14, Anthony 8, Semerad 6, Miranda 5, Rosales 5, Alas 5, Nieto 2

QUARTERS: 28-19, 61-47, 88-75, 120-106

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