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Balanced SMB opens four-peat bid with rout of Phoenix

MANILA, Philippines – A new season has begun yet the remarkable starting unit of San Miguel Beer remains as explosive as ever.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Beermen as they cruised past the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 104-96, on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum to open their campaign in the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup.

SMB's June Mar Fajardo puts up a shot against the Phoenix defense. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Leading the way for the three-time defending All-Filipino champions was reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, who had 23 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks, while making eight of his 13 attempts from the field.

Alex Cabagnot added 22 markers, and Marcio Lassiter added 20
 points – 10 coming in the final frame.Chris Ross had 16 points and nine assists, while Arwind Santos also had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Beermen fended off Phoenix's late charge in the final quarter for their first win of the new conference, where they are trying to win a fourth consecutive All-Filipino title.

"I have respect for Phoenix, especially with their new coaching staff," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria after the game. "They are out there to show something, to show what they have. I think they are capable of handling any team."

Author: Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News
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