Jayson Castro and his teammates stole the show from crowned conference best player June Mar Fajardo as the TNT Tropang Giga tied the PBA Philippine Cup race-to-four series to 2-all after beating the San Miguel Beermen, 100-87, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 28.
Jayson Castro stole the show
Castro led TNT in another dazzling performance in Game 4, scoring 26 points on top of his six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. RR Pogoy canned 21 baskets with three boards and two assists, while Mikey Williams and Kelly Williams chipped in 15 and 14 markers, respectively, outshining Fajardo’s Best Player of the Conference coronation night.
“Kailangan maging aggressive. The past two games, ang bagal ng execution namin at passive sa depensa. Naging aggressive kami tonight, at eto ang resulta (We need to be aggressive. The past two games, our execution was slow and passive in defense. We were aggressive tonight, and this is the result),” Castro said as TNT forced the series back to zero.
Best player of the conference
Fajardo fell short of a 20-20 game, drilling in 20 points with 19 rebounds as the Beermen had a shaky start and struggled to catch up as action progressed despite the double-digit figures of Simon Enciso (15), Marcio Lassiter (14), CJ Perez (13), and Moala Tautuaa (13).
Coach Leo Austria called it a night for Fajardo when the Beermen were trailing by 17 points in the last 4:27 of the game.
Coach Chot Reyes’ return, according to assistant coaches Sandy Arespacochaga and Castro, played a vital role in their win by motivating the team with his constant reminders.
Castro, meanwhile, said that the 32-year-old Fajardo deserved the PBA Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference title considering his impressive comeback having been sidelined for two seasons due to a complete fractured tibia.
He also said. “Kasi from injury, yung recovery niya, and then naibalik niya yung dati niyang laro. Sobrang saya ako na nakita ko siya (ulit) na nagpe-perform ng ganun. Kaya sobrang happy ko para sa kanya
(Because of injury, and his recovery, and then he was able to return to his old game. I was so happy to see him perform like that. That’s why I’m so happy for him).”
The six-foot-10 Fajardo bested his San Miguel teammate CJ Perez, and Mikey Williams for the coveted award, his ninth overall and his seventh in the Philippine Cup. He won the title six straight from 2014 to 2019 but the injury ended his streak.
Expect another exciting action in Game 5 at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Big Dome.
The Box Score:
TNT 100 – Castro 26, Pogoy 21, M.Williams 15, K.Williams 14, Erram 8, Khobuntin 7, Montalbo 3, Rosario 2, Marcelo 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Reyes 0, Alejandro 0.
San Miguel 87 – Fajardo 20, Enciso 15, Lassiter 14, Perez 13, Tautuaa 13, Cruz 6, Brondial 3, Ross 2, Manuel 1, Herndon 0, Pessumal 0.
Quarters: 18-9, 43-36, 72-63, 100-87