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    Fajardo concedes to Kazahks stretch bigs, but quick to put focus on Iran

    Dec 1, 2018
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    HUMBLING as the defeat may be, June Mar Fajardo remained defiant in his belief that Team Pilipinas will be able to overcome its struggles and bounce back on Monday against Iran in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.

    "Buo ang tiwala ko sa team kaya kailangan pa nating gawin ang lahat para manalo," he said on the heels of a shocking 92-88 defeat to Kazakhstan on Friday.

    Fajardo delivered 14 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, and two assists in a losing cause as he tried his earnest to defend the opposing big men, most of whom found their touch from long distance.

    "Sobrang hirap nilang bantayan. Ang dami nilang tres na napasok," remarked the Cebuano giant, putting focus on Kazakhstan's 12-of-23 three-point shooting with starting center Alexandr Zhigulin accounting for half of those on his way to a 30-point night.

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      There's no denying how painful the defeat was, especially as the Philippines blew its chance from taking a step closer to clinching a World Cup spot to now in danger of missing the big dance altogether as it sits tied at third with Japan, both of which carries identical 5-4 records.

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      "Masakit na masakit na natalo tayo sa home court natin. Lesson learned yun para sa atin," he said.

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      Fajardo, however, was quick to look at the positives, with a chance for retribution set on Monday when the Philippines hosts Iran at Mall of Asia Arena.

      The four-time PBA MVP urged the national team to not dwell on this defeat and rather, find a way to perform better as it seeks to bounce back against their longtime adversaries.

      "Hindi namin dapat i-down ang sarili namin ng husto kasi mas maapektuhan ang game namin sa Monday," he said. "Kailangang mag-move on kami, pero di namin dapat kalimutan ang mga lessons sa larong ito."

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      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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