JUNE Mar Fajadro relished the extended Holy Week break he gained in Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals where San Miguel Beer drew ample support from its bench to cruise to a 111-87 win over Magnolia on Sunday night.
Coming into the title series averaging 37.6 minutes per game, the four-time reigning MVP logged in relatively less playing time with just 33 minutes and 11 seconds as he had the luxury of sitting out the entire fourth period when the SMB second unit led the late salvo.
Brian Heruela and Gabby Espinas stood at the forefront of the bench mob, joining Arwind Santos, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, and Marcio Lassiter to form SMB’s finishing unit.
“Maganda kasi 'yung nilaro ng second group namin, so nabigyan nila kami ng pahinga,” Fajardo said. “Credit sa kanila, and credit din sa mga coaching staff, ang ganda ng naging adjustment namin noong break namin, noong mga practices namin.”
“Sana maging focused ulit kami, hindi kami maging kampante sa next game namin kasi for sure, yung kabila, bibigay nila 'yung best talaga nila para manalo,” he added. “So ganoon din kami. Gusto nila manalo ng championship, kami din gusto din namin.”
The 6-foot-10 slotman still dominated in three quarters with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 17 boards, and two assists in 33 minutes as the Hotshots picked their poison on defense and still choked on it with all the five players on the floor providing timely contribution.
“Credit talaga sa mga teammates ko, lalo na sa second group,” Fajardo said. “Nag-step up talaga sila kaya nakapag-pahinga kaming first group. Sana ganoon lagi, consistent kami sa energy na binibigay namin. Ang ganda ng depensa namin.”
“Pinipisikal nila kami, pero ayun, hindi kami... Stay composed kami. Buti na-sustain namin,” he added.
Fajardo is bracing for a Hotshots fightback in Game Four where the Beermen try to move on the cusp of historic fourth straight all-Filipino title.
“For sure next game, siguro hindi na papayag 'yung kabila na matatambakan ulit ng ganoon kalaki,” Fajardo said. “Kami naman, kailangan namin mag-focus din, kailangan namin maging handa for next game. Hindi ganoon kadali 'yung series na ito, so kailangan namin paghandaan ng maayos ito.”