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    June Mar Fajardo sustains surge but sets sights on SMB grand slam than winning fourth straight MVP

    Sep 20, 2017
    June Mar Fajardo seems to be back in full strength after two straight games of putting up big numbers. Jerome Ascano

    ANTIPOLO City – Grand Slam more than a record fourth straight MVP.

    That's how June Mar Fajardo prioritizes things right now with the 42nd PBA season almost coming to a close and the Governors Cup nearing its final stretch.

    The Cebuano big man said it's more important for him to help the Beermen complete a season sweep and achieve a second Grand Slam in franchise history.

    Being named MVP anew would just be a bonus.

    "Kailangan kunin namin yung goal to win a championship," he said after the Beermen barely escaped past the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 109-107, Wednesday night at the Ynares Center here.

    "A hindi muna," Fajardo added when asked about the prospect of becoming the first ever player in PBA history to win a fourth straight MVP trophy.

    Fajardo did play like one against Phoenix, which he torched for 24 points and 17 rebounds, including a perfect 12 of 12 from the foul line.

    It was the second straight game the 6-foot-11 Cebuano posted huge double-double numbers after dropping 41 points and 17 rebounds in a 118-112 comeback win over KIA last week.

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      The extra effort is needed, according to the national team mainstay, for San Miguel to finish within the Top 4 - and possibly Top 2 - going into the quarterfinals.

      "Kailangan mag step-up e," was his curt reply.

      The win hiked San Miguel's record to 7-3 and propelled it to a tie with TnT Katropa for third place. The Beermen will have second-running Meralco (7-2) for their final opponent in possibly a battle for the Top 2 spots in the playoffs.

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      Fajardo said the Beermen can't afford a slow start against the Bolts just like what they had opposite KIA and Phoenix.

      "Hindi puwede sa Meralco yung ganun," he said of the team's Sept. 24 duel with the Bolts.

      But while he's not setting his sights on another MVP award, the 27-year-old Fajardo is certain to contend anew for the league's highest individual trophy.

      While his game may have suffered a bit early in the season-ending meet following the strained right calf muscle he sustained, Fajardo was named Best Player of the Conference during the Philippine Cup, where he steered San Miguel to winning the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy after the team's third straight all-Filipino championship.

      The race for the BPC plum has yet to be released by the league, although Fajardo is expected to contend for it along with teammates Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, who won the award during the Commissioner's Cup.

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      June Mar Fajardo seems to be back in full strength after two straight games of putting up big numbers. Jerome Ascano
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