MOMENTS after coming through with a career game, June Mar Fajardo was quick to give credit where credit is due.
The Petron rookie said his teammates especially veteran big and two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso are a big help in the progress of his game in just barely a season of playing in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
The 6-foot-10 national team mainstay finished with a career-high 26 points, including 14 in the third period, in the Boosters’ 90-88 win over defending champion Rain or Shine in Game Two of their Governors' Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
”Malaking pasasalamat lang talaga ako sa mga teammates ko saka sa mga coaches ko kasi nagtitiwala sila sa akin, saka binibigyan nila ako ng bola,” said a beaming Fajardo after the Boosters moved just a victory away from a return to the Finals after two years.
Fajardo made special mention of the 6-foot-6 Ildefonso, who has been religiously tutoring him one-on-one to further hone his skills and at the same time, develop his confidence.
“Nakatulong din (tutoring). Malaking bagay `yung ginagawa namin ni Danny I. Pag walang game kinabukasan kasi, may 20 minutes kami na mga post moves, defense, saka more on mental din,” explained the soft-spoken freshman from Pinamungahan, Cebu.
The support being given him by the 36-year-old Ildefonso and the rest of the Boosters bolsters Fajardo's belief that he’ll go places in the league in the future.
“Di ako maliligaw ng landas dito (team) kasi pag nagkamali ako, tinuturuan nila ako. Nakikinig lang ako,” he said.
The top overall pick in last year’s Draft also said the absence of JR Quinahan was huge for him since it meant he only has to deal with Rain or Shine big man Beau Belga inside the paint in Game Two.
“Mabigat din si JR kaya nag-te-take advantage ako dun saka binibigyan nila (Petron teammates) ako ng kumpiyansa para ma-pick up yung game ko,” he added.
Despite a 2-0 series lead, Fajardo said it’s better the Boosters try to end the series in Saturday’s Game Three so as not to give the Elasto Painters any kind of momentum.
“Panalo pero wala pang kasiguraduhan `yun eh (series lead). Dapat maglaro pa kami ng maayos, at mag-pick up pa game namin, then tapusin na namin sa Sabado kasi pag nanalo sila (E-Painters), baka magka-momentum pa sila,” he said.