PBA Finals: Fajardo returns as Beermen scrape past Alaska in Game 5

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — With backs against the wall, the San Miguel Beermen refused to fold and scraped past Alaska Aces, 86-73, in overtime of Game 5 of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday (January 27).

The Beermen were reinforced by league MVP June Mar Fajardo, who returned from a knee injury and made quite a huge impact especially on his teammates.

Fajardo's presence, according to head coach Leo Austria, inspired the players.

"Players and fans were inspired by the presence of June Mar," said Austria, who added that Fajardo insisted to play in Wednesday's tussle regardless of the outcome.

Alaska, though, still leads the series, 3-2.

But on the night of the 6-foot-10 behemoth's return, Arwind Santos also broke out from slump and played the way they have all-conference long.

Santos battered the Aces on all fronts, erupting with 22 points to go with 14 rebounds, four blocks and assists, and three steals.

"Nagco-complement sila ni June Mar," said Austria of Santos.

San Miguel Beer simply did everything right in the extra period, scoring 19 points while limiting Alaska to just six.

Alaska coach Alex Compton admitted the Beermen have been effective the past two games, but pointed out the difference in fouls between the two teams.

Compton, however, didn't say it spelled doom for Alaska, which had 36 fouls as compared to the Beermen's 17.

Vic Manuel scored career-high 25 points to lead the Aces.

Game 6 is on Friday (January 29) at the same venue.