SAN Miguel Beer can win without June Mar Fajardo having to carry a heavy load most of the time, after all.
The Beermen found that out in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, taking TNT KaTropa off guard with a quick, guard-oriented attack led by Finals MVP Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross.
And Fajardo could not be any prouder of his teammates after the three-time MVP didn’t have to do the heavy lifting for a change as SMB coach Leo Austria tried to adjust to the presence of hulking TNT import Joshua Smith.
“Sobrang nakaka-proud sa mga teammates ko na nag-step up sila. Pinakita nila yung heart of a champion,” Fajardo said. “Sobrang ganda ng game plan ni coach Leo at nag-work talaga.”
In their last three wins against the Texters, the 6-foot-10 slotman averaged just 5.7 points on five attempts, and 4.7 rebounds in 23 minutes. In comparison, Fajardo averaged 18 points and 12.6 rebounds in 35.8 minutes in the Philippine Cup playoffs.
Cabagnot and Ross, as well as Arwind Santos all gladly took over and gave import Charles Rhodes more than enough local support.
“Maganda yung pinakita ng teammates ko, yung combination na yun ni coach,” Fajardo said after having the luxury of playing less than 14 minutes and contributing just two points on three attempts and four boards in the series-clinching 115-91 win in Game Six on Sunday night.
But shifting to the Governors’ Cup where there are shorter imports, Fajardo is again expected to deliver his usual double-double numbers in leading the Beermen's quest for a grand slam.
“Sa ngayon, di ko pa masabi (ang grand slam chances),” Fajardo said. “Gusto lang namin i-cherish yung moment na ito, magpahinga.”
“Tsaka na namin iisipin yun,” he added. “Next conference, malalakas na ang mga teams. Kahit sabihin na maliit ang import, hindi pa rin sila biro. Gusto naming makuha yun.”