WHEN June Mar Fajardo gets his touches and his rhythm down low, things flow for San Miguel.
Ginebra learned this the hard way as the three-time PBA MVP once again lorded over the paint to lead San Miguel to a 99-88 victory in Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
For coach Leo Austria, the biggest story of the game was Fajardo's dominant presence down the stretch unlike in Game Two where he struggled to stay on the floor after being saddled by foul trouble.
Fajardo finished with 17 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots but, more importantly, read Ginebra's defense well and made the passes that foun open shooters down the stretch.
Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross knocked down three pointer after three pointer as San Miguel closed the game on a 17-2 run.
"That's the biggest difference. We were able to get the ball to June Mar and the key players, the shooters were ready to take the shots. Yung extra pass were really crucial," said Austria.
"Without June Mar it's really hard for us to win. We had a chance nung second game pero iba yung may June Mar ka sa loob. May go-to guy," Austria added.
Fajardo said he's smarter now in engaging the Ginebra big men in physical battles down low, something that caused him trouble in Lucena.
[See SMB takes 2-1 lead as Ginebra sputters late in Game Three]
For Fajardo, it's all about listening to his coaches and trusting them to make the correct adjustments.
"Siyempre kailangan ko mag-adjust, hindi naman yung referee magaadjust e," Fajardo said. "Tinuruan lang ako nila coach nung practice kung anong dapat gawin, nakinig lang ako kila coach."
Austria was naturally delighted with how Fajardo responded.
"Good thing he learned his lesson. I keep on telling him, not to do this, not to do that. Yung composure niya andun," he said.