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    June Mar Fajardo among the few positives in Gilas' lopsided loss at World Cup opener

    Aug 31, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE stat sheets won't really paint the whole picture, but in the 21 minutes June Mar Fajardo played on Saturday, he was a positive presence for Gilas Pilipinas.

    Bullish in the paint and active in setting up picks for the guards, the Cebuano giant picked up where he left off as he made his return to the world stage despite the Philippines suffering a horror 62-108 defeat to Italy in its opener in the 2019 Fiba World Cup in Foshan, China.

    Fajardo racked nine points, six rebounds, two steals, and one block as he did the yeoman job for the Philippines off the bench.

    He was the country's most efficient player at plus-15, and was only a minus-12 in the 46-point drubbing dealt to the Filipinos.

    His presence was a plus as he shared the frontcourt with hardworking center Raymond Almazan and was a perfect stabilizing presence in the paint for young guns Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick.

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    Talk about quashing notions of the San Miguel slotman being unable to take his groove in the international competitions.

    After all, Fajardo is the reigning five-time PBA MVP for a reason.

    It's a building block too, which the Philippines can lean on, especially with the 6-foot-11 Fajardo poised for a showdown against lookalike and 7-foot-3 behemoth Boban Marjanovic of Serbia on Monday.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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