JUNE Mar Fajardo did everything he could to contain Joshua Smith, but the hulking import still delivered the game-winner in TNT KaTropa's 104-102 win over San Miguel in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals on Wednesday night.
Although playing on one good foot, the 25-year-old TNT reinforcement managed to take over on a broken play and launch a gentle hook shot against Fajardo that trickled in with 1.6 seconds left.
"Wala e napasok niya, para sa kanila talaga yung game," said Fajardo, a feeling of resignation in his voice at the end of a thrilling opener to the best-of-seven championship series.
Asked if guarding Smith was one of the biggest challenges he has ever faced, the Cebuano giant agreed, saying he really had a tough time going up against the 6-10, 330-lb. TNT slotman.
"Sobrang laki niya, mabigat talaga," he said of Smith, who still came up wioth 21 points and nine rebounds despite hobbling with a toe injury on his right foot.
Fajardo, however, is not one to back down from the challenge, vowing to be well-prepared for Smith come Game 2 on Friday, although he was quick to add that he would need the help of his teammates.
"Magaling din yung hook shot niya e. So kailangan talaga mag-adjust kung pano sya i-stop," said the soft-spoken Fajardo, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
"Siguro i-double team namin siya. Siguro magpo-provide ng help pero tignan natin ano gusto ni coach (Leo Austria)."