Though the main attraction in the game between San Miguel and Ginebra last Sunday was the duel between two behemoths, it wasn’t June Mar Fajardo alone that led the Beermen to the convincing victory.
For Fajardo, he wouldn’t get the better numbers if not for his teammates’ help.
“Collective effort yun sa teammates ko. Team effort talaga yun,” Fajardo said.
Fajardo finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and one assists, just a few notches better than Greg Slaughter’s showing of 21 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, as the Beermen scored a 100-82 rout of the Gin Kings.
But head coach Leo Austria would like to think that the storyline did motivate the two-time MVP to perform at his peak.
“Maybe because of the hype that it’s June Mar Fajardo versus Greg Slaughter, but I’m happy to see him that he’s being more mature and he carried our team. But I told him before the game, ‘This is not your fight. It’s the fight of our team. Your strength is with your teammates, and we will provide the necessary help.'”
But Fajardo said that the urgency in his performance wasn’t because of any rivalry, but because he did want for his team to have any let ups.
“Di about sa akin or kay Greg yun. Kailangan namin i-prove sa mga team na magaling kami as a team, not as individuals,” he said. “Kailangan naming manalo. Every game counts. Pag isang talo lang, crucial na sa end ng eliminations. One game at a time, kailangan manalo.”
The six-foot-10 giant, though, gave a sneak peak of the additions to his arsenal;
Fajardo’s arsenal: a baseline side-step move, which he used against Slaughter, and reliable fadeaway jumpers. But he immediately quashed assumptions that he will play more guard-like skills in San Miguel’s coming games.
“Nakikita ko lang na ginagawa ni Ryan Araña at Alex Cabagnot,” he said. “Parang bata lang na nanonood at naa-absorb ko din. Pwede rin i-try minsan, pero hindi every game kasi baka pagalitan ako ni coach. May limitations yun. Alam ko yung strength ko, di naman yun ang lakas ko at baka ma-turnover lang.”
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