IN all honesty, June Mar Fajardo says that he’s not in the position to say if the last two fouls that led to the graduation of TNT import Joshua Smith were valid as San Miguel took the 121-110 Game 1 victory in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.
“Naglalaro lang naman ako eh. Hindi ko na iniintindi yung mga referees, basta naglalaro lang ako,” he said on Monday after finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Fajardo bumped on Smith and drew the burly reinforcement’s fifth foul, with his and-one play tying the game at 106 with 5:11 remaining.
Smith would then pick up his sixth foul – a looseball foul after his slight nudge on Fajardo as he trooped to the bench with 3:39 left to play.
Both calls were relentlessly argued by the KaTropa bench as they felt the fouls were a little too soft, leaving them without the hulking import down low as the Beermen coasted to the 11-point win.
Fajardo, though, wouldn’t deny how tough of a draw Smith is.
“Syempre sobrang laki niya, sobrang lapad niya, at ang laki ng space na nakukuha niya sa loob. Ang galing niya pumwesto, galing niya pumasa, at sobrang disiplinado siya sa opensa nila. Hindi siya nagmamadali. Tinitignan niya yung posisyon niya at kung walang help, one-on-one, kayang kaya niya. Respeto talaga sa kanya,” he said.
Despite San Miguel coming back from 23-points down to pull off the stunner, the reigning four-time PBA MVP would like to put this win behind and focus on what appears to be another hard-knocks Game 2 outing on Wednesday.
“Move on na,” he said. “For sure sa next game, iba na ang approach namin sa game at ganoon din sa kabilang team. Alam natin na hindi ganoon kadali ipanalo yung game at for sure, gagawin nila ang lahat para maka-bounce back. Nagkataon lang din na na-foul out si Smith ngayon pero for sure next game, hindi na mauulit yun.”
“Pero ganoon din kami. Kailangan namin tapusin agad yung series kung maaari kasi alam namin kung gaano kahirap yung sitwasyon. Sana next game, makuha ulit namin yung panalo.”