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    June Mar Fajardo takes no issue over rare benching late in Game 5

    Aug 15, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    JUNE Mar Fajardo has never been one to demand minutes, and he won't start now.

    The five-time PBA MVP rode the bench for most of the fourth quarter of San Miguel's win over TNT KaTropa to give way to Christian Standhardinger, who played stingy defense on super import Terrence Jones.

    Hard as it was for coach Leo Austria to keep his Cebuano giant on the bench at crunch time, the 6-foot-10 center said he didn't take offense, so long as it was for the Beermen's cause.

    "Ok lang, walang problema," the five-time league MVP said. "Yun ang isang adjustment namin at nag-work naman. Walang problema sa akin 'yung ganung palitan. Basta manalo kami, yung game plan sinunod namin, ok ako."

    Fajardo was in awe as Standhardinger limited Jones to just three points on 0-of-4 shooting from the field while forcing three miscues the moment he checked in at the 7:24 mark of the payoff period.

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    That defense also rubbed off on the rest of the squad as the KaTropa were held to just 4-of-18 shooting in the final quarter.

    That allowed San Miguel to climb back from a 16-point hole and pull off the 99-94 Game Five victory that moved the Beermen a win away from claiming the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup title.

    And Fajardo only had praises for Standhardinger.

    "Ang ganda ng depensa niya. Sobrang impressive at hindi naka-score si Jones. Dine-deny niya talaga," he said.

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      Unusual as it was to see Fajardo not finish the game, the decorated slotman wouldn't have any second thoughts making the sacrifice again if it leads to the Beermen winning the championship.

      "Kahit limited minutes lang ako, kung maganda naman ang idedepensa ni Christian at manalo kami, walang problema sa akin," he said after racking 14 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of action in Game Five.

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      "Kailangan mag-sakripisyo, i-share yung minutes. Si Arwind (Santos) nga, ilang minutes lang siya naglaro at shine-share niya yun kay Chris (McCullough). So sakripisyo lang talaga."

      Whatever it takes.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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