Fajardo shrugs off injury, vows to give all in Game 7
Just two weeks ago, June Mar Fajardo feared for the worst.
The San Miguel Beer center went down with a left knee injury that cost him to miss four games in the finals. Fajardo’s grew more as his team kept losing to the Alaska Aces until the Beermen stared at a 0-3 hole.
“Sa first three games sa Finals, sobrang na-frustrate ako kasi pinaghirapan namin sa offseason at goal namn talaga makaabot ng Finals. Pagdating sa Finals, nainjure ako,” he said. “Talagang nakaka-frustrate kasi wala akong maitulong sa teammates ko kundi ipagdasal sila. Nasa harap lang ako ng TV, gigil ako. Iniisip ko sana nasa loob din ako ng court.”
Facing elimination, the timing was just right for Fajardo to show up and be with his teammates on the bench in Game 4 after he received his Best Player of the Conference award.
In that game, the Beermen weathered an imminent Alaska coronation in overtime, 110-104.
And that was just the beginning as San Miguel survived another overtime three days later, 86-73, with Fajardo playing limited minutes in a surprise return.
With the condition of his knee vastly improved, Fajardo showed flashes of his old form to help the Beermen force a deciding game for the 2016 Philippine Cup title.
“Nakakatuwa kasi ngayon, nakakasama ko na ulit sila sa court. Sobrang nakakatuwa lang kasi sobrang saya maglaro sa Finals eh. Ito yung pinaka-goal namin,” he said.
San Miguel already made history by becoming the first team in the league to forge a Game 7 after trailing, 0-3 in a best-of-seven series, but Fajardo and the Beermen will only be contented when they win the championship.
“Last game na yung Game 7. Lahat ng players, lahat ng teams, pinangarap makalaro sa finals,” he said. “Kami, opportunity namin manalo sa Game 7. Kailangan ready kami pagdating ng Wednesday.”
Fajardo, whose left knee still heavily wrapped, admits he hasn’t fully recovered yet, but he vowed that won’t keep him from giving his all.
“Wala ng percentage, percentage. Ibibigay ko na ang lahat kasi wala na eh, yun na yung last game. Pagkatapos nun, may pahinga naman. Kailangan ibigay na ang lahat,” he said.
“Ang maaalala ng tao, yung championship. Yun ang goal namin.”
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