YOUNG slotman June Mar Fajardo proved to be the big difference in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series between San Miguel and Talk N Text.
So says bruising forward Ranidel De Ocampo shortly after the Tropang Texters were swept by the Beermen in their best-of-seven encounter Friday night to advance in the finals of the All-Filipino conference.
De Ocampo is convinced Fajardo’s two-year stint with Gilas Pilipinas fast-tracked the San Miguel big man’s maturity in the pro league.
“Nakakuha ng kumpiyansa si June Mar sa international, lalo na sa Fiba World (Cup). Malaking bagay din yun kaya nag-improve siya kasi kitang kita naman sa laro niya,” De Ocampo told Spin.ph after the game.
In just his third season, the 6-foot-10 Fajardo dominated inside after averaging MVP-like numbers of 20.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks in the four-game series.
The Cebuano big man, a teammate of De Ocampo at Gilas Pilipinas, capped the best-of-seven series by scoring with 28 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in the clinching 100-87 win in Game Four.
De Ocampo admitted he has gone along well with the center out of University of Cebu, teaching Fajardo some of the ‘tricks of the trade’ during their stint with Gilas.
“Alam na niya yun (things he taught Fajardo),” the 11-year veteran said with a smile.
“Simple lang kami ni June Mar. Nakikinig yan sa nakakatanda sa kanya. Importante yung marunong siyang makinig,” he added.
With Talk ‘N Text’s title chase in the All-Filipino Cup coming to an abrupt end, De Ocampo intends to take a break and spend some lost time with his family during the incoming New Year.
“Kasama ko lang ang pamilya ko. Babawi rin sa oras na nawala sa pamilya,” he said.