SAN Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo praised the adjustments of his team, specifically the hard work of the coaching staff, that proved instrumental for the Beermen in regaining the series lead, 3-2, over Rain or Shine in their best-of-seven semifinal matchup in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
The reigning back-to-back MVP scored 27 markers and grabbed 12 boards, lower than his semis averages of 36.7 points and 17.5 rebounds, but he found ample support for the second straight game from his teammates as the defending champions cruised to a 103-94 victory in Game Five on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
JayR Reyes (14), Arwind Santos (12), and Chris Ross (12) all scored in double figures, while Gabby Espinas and Ryan Arana powered with bench in combining for 17 points.
"Maganda nilaro ng mga bench namin, nag-step up lahat, tapos maganda ang defense namin, naka-adjust kami," said Fajardo.
Despite Fajardo’s dominant performances, San Miguel found themselves down 1-2 in the series against ROS, even as the pride of Cebu delivered a monster 40-20 game in their Game Three loss. The Beermen, particularly the coaching staff, initiated changes in strategy at that pivotal point, and Fajardo is quick to thank his coaches for their efforts in inspiring the bench resurgence.
Fajardo shared that their practice runs from 12 to 3 p.m. yet he’d find the coaching staff would be in the gym working hard hours ahead of schedule.
"May adjustments si coach at mga staff, 10 or 11 a.m. pa lang nasa gym na sila, pinag-aralan na adjustments," he said.
However, the 26-year-old center is not discounting the fact that Rain or Shine coaches are also hard at work to pull off a comeback in the semifinals.
"'Di pa (tapos ang series), alam natin Rain or Shine, kaya nila mag-bounce back," said Fajardo. "Talo sila ng Game One tapos nag-bounce back twice, 'di pwedeng maging kampante."
"Dapat mag-go hard kami," he added.
Game Six is on Friday, 7 p.m., also at the Big Dome.