SINCE playing for Gilas Pilipinas the last two years, there’s no doubt that San Miguel Beer’s young center June Mar Fajardo is now the league’s most dominant big man.
Despite the regular double-teaming and physical defense applied on him throughout the semifinal series, the 6-10 Fajardo managed to find a way to score, using his brains and brawns in outwitting and out playing Talk ‘N Text’s undersized frontline.
The big man out of the University of Cebu dropped 18 points and nine rebounds, while getting the much-needed lift from teammates Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot in the endgame as the Beermen squeaked past the Tropang Texters, 96-95, last Dec. 23 to seize a 3-0 bulge.
But after a three-day respite, a fresher Fajardo emerged strong from the get-go, outmuscling the Tropang Texters all game-long to finish with 28 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks as the Beermen completed a four-game sweep via their 100-87 series-clinching win.
Fajardo is happy to lead San Miguel’s carnage against its corporate rival, but the Cebuano big man remains focused on the team’s quest for an all-Filipino championship, something the Beermen last achieved in 2001 under Jong Uichico, who ironically, calls the shots for the Tropang Texters this season.
“Basta taasan lang namin yung intensity, saka gagalingan pa namin kasi walang madali. Lahat mahirap,” said Fajardo, who also played as Gilas’ back-up center.
Fajardo averaged 23 points, 12.5 points and 3.5 assists in the team’s last two games for the series to earn his second Accel-PBA Press Corps. Player of the Week for the Period of Dec. 23-28.
The 25-year-old center from Pinamungahan, Cebu beat Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio and Calvin Abueva for the weekly citation.
The series sweep was the first-ever for the San Miguel franchise, which advanced to its 34th Finals appearance, the most in PBA history.
The Beermen will be shooting for their 20th league title where they face the winner of the Rain or Shine-Alaska semifinal series. (RD)
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