RISING star center June Mar Fajardo of Petron admits he has been enduring aches and pains from his physical battle with bruising San Mig Coffee forward Marc Pingris in the PBA Governors' Cup Finals.
But with the championship series down to sudden death following Petron’s 99-88 victory in Game Six on Wednesday night, the 6-foot-10 Fajardo said he’s ready to bang bodies with the smaller but physical Pingris one last time on Friday.
“Talagang masakit sa katawan, pero lahat ng players ibibigay na nila lahat ng todo dahil wala nang bukas ito,” Fajardo said on the eve of the winner-take-all Game Seven.
Since becoming part of Gilas Pilipinas last June, the 270-pound Fajardo has toughened up as he has learned to use his size and power to dominate the shaded lane even against a well-conditioned and experienced defensive player like Gilas teammate Pingris.
“Kailangan talaga eh. Dapat all-out ka sa pina-practice mo kasi Finals na ito saka nire-remind ko sa sarili ko na ibibigay ko ang makakaya ko at saka matututunan ko. Wala na itong bukas, kundi iiyak na lang kami pag natalo kami,” he added.
The 24-year-old Fajardo said after every game day, he makes sure he does some one-on-one practice with Petron’s veteran forward Danny Ildefonso, who has been tutoring last year’s top overall rookie pick with big man’s plays.
Fajardo’s game has remarkably improved this conference, particularly in the Finals series with import-like averages of 21.3 points and 18.6 rebounds in the last three games.
He is also averaging 11 attempts from the foul line, which only shows that Petron has started to rely on the Cebuano big man’s vastly-improved plays in the shaded lane.