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    Arwind Santos confident SMB can still reach semis without Fajardo

    Feb 16, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

    ARWIND Santos believes San Miguel is still capable of reaching the PBA semifinals even without June Mar Fajardo after being sidelined with a serious injury that will keep him out for a lengthy period of time.

    Santos said the Beermen still have the materials to go deep into a conference particularly in the Philippine Cup where they are seeking their sixth straight crown, despite the crucial absence of Fajardo.

    “Kaya pa rin namin makapasok sa semifinals,” said Santos. “’Yun ang target. Tapos magandang standing sa umpisa. Tingin ko lalaban pa rin kami. Hindi mo pa rin kami puwedeng i-underestimate. Sabi ko nga, with or without June Mar, kaya naming manalo.”

    San Miguel suffered a major blow for the coming 2020 campaign as Fajardo will be sidelined for the rest of the Philippine Cup - and could even be for the entire season, after suffering a complete fracture in his right tibia during practice.

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    Santos said Fajardo’s absence remained a huge loss for the team even though he believes the Beermen remain a very competitive team with the five-time MVP out.

    “Siyempre, napakalaking bagay na wala si June Mar. Five-time MVP, isa sa mga leader namin ‘yan, MVP namin, talagang ang tagal na naming naglalaro. Sa tropeyong nakuha namin, lahat nandoon si June Mar. Siyempre, nasanay kami na gumagalaw kami na laging may June Mar. Nakaka-miss pero kagaya ng sinabi ko, hindi namin mapipigilan kung ano mangyayari sa mga players o sa amin. Minsan talaga, susubukan ka ng panahon at tadhana siguro,” said Santos.

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      Santos said it is up to them to step up in Fajardo’s absence. The San Miguel veteran said it has been proven that his teammates are capable of taking over for the team when adversity strikes the squad.

      “Kailangan maglaro at tanggapin na wala si June Mar. Kailangan maging buo kami at i-offer lang namin lagi ‘yung game namin sa kanya. Alam naming gustong gusto niya makatulong… Talagang hindi naman mapagkakaila, malaking kawalan sa team ng San Miguel pero kami, mawala man ng ibang players, ang trabaho namin, kung ano ‘yung maiiwan, kailangan naming lumabas.

      “Ito ang team na kahit sabihin mong wala si June Mar, wala si Marcio, wala si Ross, wala si Alex, wala si Terrence, kailangang lumaban ang matitira. Kami ‘yung pinagkatiwala dito, kami ‘yung may mga kontrata at sinusuportahan ng pamilya at fans ng San Miguel.

      As the Beermen play without their top star, Santos wishes all the best for Fajardo, and he believes his teammate will be a lot better when he recovers.

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      “Ma-get over niya ‘yun at makabalik siya ng mas malakas. Nandito lang kami, maghihintay sa kanya,” said Santos.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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