TWO months since Rain or Shine played Petron in the semifinals of the PBA Governors Cup, Beau Belga admitted June Mar Fajardo has further elevated his game a notch higher.
Unlike before when the burly Elasto Painters center would be able to outwit the 24-year-old Fajardo, he now noted that pushing the sophomore big man out of the paint is not enough anymore.
“Sobrang laki ng ini-improve niya (Fajardo) kasi mahirap na siya depensahan. Marami na siyang alam. Saka kapag na-seal ka, sa ilalim ka na pupulutin,” acknowledged Belga after helping Rain or Shine score a come-from-behind 99-95 win that dealt the Boosters their first loss in the PLDT myDSL-Philippine Cup Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Extra effort lang. Nakakapagod, pero nakikita mo naman `yung outcome eh.”
Belga finished with 11 points, including two triples in regulation play, while helping to contain the 6-foot-11 Fajardo underneath.
The Gilas Pilipinas alternate player credits coach Yeng Guiao for giving him and the Elasto Painters the license to shoot whenever they are open, provided they also crash the boards.
“Sabi ni coach, huwag kayo mag-hesitate, pag libre, kumpiyansa lang, itira na,” he said.
“Pero ang main game plan namin kasi, kailangan manalo kami sa rebounds, especially nandiyan si June Mar saka Arwind (Santos).”
The Elasto Painters exactly did that, outrebounding the Boosters, 66-61, despite parading a shorter frontline, as they took advantage of Fajardo’s absence in the extra period. The big man out of University of Cebu fouled out with 4:01 left in the match.
The victory ended Rain or Shine’s two-game losing streak and vaulted the team to solo fourth spot with a 5-4 record.
The Elasto Painters return to action on December 27 against the Barako Bull Energy at the Mall of Asia Arena.