SOPHOMORE June Mar Fajardo makes his first appearance in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup while new import Kevin Jones hopes to make an immediate impact as San Miguel Beer takes on Talk ’N Text in the battle of two unbeaten teams on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo missed the team’s first two games after spraining his left ankle prior to the start of the conference. But that hardly mattered for the new-look Beermen, who under new coach Biboy Ravanes and active consultant Todd Purves have posted two impressive victories in as many outings.
With former New Jersey Net Josh Boone, San Miguel clobbered Meralco, 94-76, in its conference debut before manhandling Barangay Ginebra, 112-96.
Boone, though, was dropped on Monday in favor of Jones, with the San Miguel coaching staff stressing the need to get someone who can complement Fajardo’s play.
Coach Norman Black says Talk ’N Text will have to play its best game against a San Miguel team that puts a lot of emphasis on defense and strong perimeter shooting.
“Based on San Miguel’s first two games, we will have to bring our best game when we play them,” Black said, heading to his team’s 8 p.m. encounter with the Beermen.
Black noted that San Miguel is moving the ball well as evidenced by the 25-assist average in its first two games.
Ravanes said Fajardo’s minutes will be managed against the Tropang Texters since he joined the team’s practice only on Thursday.
“Puwede na siya (Fajardo) maglaro pero limited minutes lang siya kasi kahapon nag-shooting lang siya tapos ngayon (Thursday) pa lang siya sumali sa practice,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes also expects Jones to fit in well for the Beermen, taking note of his ability to play defense since his college days at West Virginia.
“He’s (Jones) not really a guy who’ll give you 30 points per game, but he fits well in our system,” said Ravanes, who took over from Gee Abanilla during the conference break.
“Ang maganda sa kanya, nagje-jell siya sa defensive system namin. Iyan ang attribute na nababagay sa sistema namin.”
Jones is fresh from a stint with the Canton Charge in the NBA Developmental League, where he averaged 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds before joining the Beermen last week.