Fajardo praises Ginebra’s big men
After playing for 50 minutes on Sunday night, June Mar Fajardo could only breathe that sigh of relief after San Miguel Beer survived Barangay Ginebra in double overtime.
The reigning two-time MVP faced a very game Gin Kings, who, despite missing their slotman Greg Slaughter, gave the Cebuano giant all he could handle.
“Nakakapagod,” an exhausted Fajardo said after the marathon of a game.
Even Fajardo admits struggling in the defense employed against him by coach Tim Cone as Ginebra’s bevy of big men all took turns in limiting him.
“Malalaki din sila at maganda ang depensa nila sa akin. Nandoon pa si Japeth (Aguilar), grabe siya tumalon at lagi nya akong naba-block,” he said, noting the two big blocks his fellow Gilas campaigner dealt him during crunch time in regulation and in the first overtime. “Malalakas din yung bigs nila. Natutulak nila ako.”
Still, Fajardo fought through it and made his mark in the first overtime, where he helped San Miguel fire a 9-0 run to grab hold of a 98-89 lead before the pesky Gin Kings waged another comeback.
“Kailangan ko lang talaga mag-step up kasi yung iba nag-struggle din. Kailangan ko din kunin yung kumpiyansa ko,” the 6-foot-10 center said as he finished with 17 points, 17 rebounds and two steals in a 111-105 victory to notch their fourth win in five outings.
But for Fajardo, the biggest plus for San Miguel going forward is the return of Arwind Santos from a left knee injury.
Though the Pampanga native was still sluggish in his first outing, Santos’ insertion truly was a shot in the arm for the Beermen, something that Fajardo gladly acknowledged.
“Sa practice, di naman siya sumasali sa amin. Medyo kailangan pa niya kunin ang hangin niya, pero kailangan namin si Arwind kasi siya yung nag-stretch sa labas ng bantay nya. Pag nakaka-shoot siya, nababakante ako at nawawala yung double sa akin,” he said.
Fortunately for Santos, he will have five more days to get his conditioning back as the Beermen returns to action on Friday against GlobalPort.
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