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Fajardo in for a tough challenge against determined Sangalang

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
08:16 PM March 21, 2018

San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo has been the most dominant player in the PBA for the past four years.

But when talking about the best big men in the league today, Fajardo may be in a class of his own but he isn’t the only one in the conversation.

In fact, Fajardo will be going up against one of them in Ian Sangalang, who was instrumental in Magnolia’s return trip to the finals after a four-year absence.

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Despite his size advantage, the reigning four-time PBA MVP said matching up against Sangalang won’t be a cakewalk.

“It’s going to be tough because he’s been playing really well this conference,” Fajardo said in Filipino Wednesday during the pre-finals press conference.

“But we have a game plan for him. I’m not just going to play him one-on-one. I’m going to do everything to stop him although, I won’t be able to stop him 100 percent. I just have to minimize his touches.”

Sangalang has the unenviable task of guarding the 6-foot-10 Fajardo beginning Game 1 on Friday night.

Magnolia forward Ian Sangalang. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

But the former San Sebastian star isn’t fazed.

“It’s a great feeling. I feel really challenged and very inspired knowing that I’m going to play against June Mar who is a four-time MVP,” he said in Filipino. “I’m really going to give everything I can to help my team stop June Mar and contribute.”

Fajardo was unstoppable in the Beermen’s five-game win over Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals, but Sangalang thinks Magnolia can do a better job in guarding Fajardo in the finals.

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“I think we can stop him as long as we execute our game plan against him.”

Sangalang added the Hotshots have been raring to go back to the finals. They haven’t been to the championship round since completing a Grand Slam in the 2014 Governors’ Cup.

“For me, we’re really hungry to win the title because it’s been four years since we played in the finals. We’re always preparing hard to get back. We’ve been praying since the start of the eliminations to make the finals and now God put us in this situation so it’s our time to work hard to win the all-Filipino.“

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