AS San Miguel rediscovers its winning ways, the Beermen's bid to make the 2018 PBA Governors Cup playoffs gets an even bigger boost with the highly anticipated return of June Mar Fajardo.
Starting point guard Chris Ross said Fajardo's comeback from injury is a welcome boost to the Beermen's bid for a Top Four finish in the playoffs, slim as the team's chances may be.
"His presence and what he exudes for the team is just pure confidence. And we feed off from that," said Ross after the Beermen downed NorthPorth Batang Pier, 114-107, on Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
"We're having the MVP back. When you get someone with the caliber of June Mar, that always helps the team, and it definitely going to help us."
Fajardo, the reigning league four-time MVP, already showed up in uniform for the game against the Batang Pier after missing the first eight games of the team due to a stress fracture on his shin.
But in the post-game interview, coach Leo Austria said the 6-foot-9 Fajardo will finally suit up for the Beermen on Saturday against Rain or Shine in Binan, Laguna.
Fajardo's playing minutes will be limited though, according to Austria.
The Beerman have no problem with that.
"Whether he starts or come off the bench and play 5 or 40 minutes is definitely good for us, " said the 33-year-old Fil-Am guard.
But in the absence of their main man, Ross and Co. have held the fort for the team, especially the two-time PBA Press Corps Finals MVP awardee, who had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting against the Batang Pier.
"As the lead point guard, I have to get these guys to follow my lead. Coach has been giving me the confidence to call plays and direct the team," said Ross.
The Beermen's third straight win improved their mark to 5-4, making it mathematically possible for them to get to the Top Four at the end of the eliminations and gain twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
"As long as we win and a couple of things happened along the way, I think we'll be right there," said Ross. "We just want to win as many games as possible now."