SAN Miguel Beer flashed its vaunted depth when it mattered most, winning the clincher of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against TNT KaTropa even with June Mar Fajardo not having to carry a heavy load in their 115-91 Game Six win on Sunday night.
Fajardo contributed just two points on three attempts, four boards, and two assists in less than 14 minutes of play, but the three-time reigning MVP’s production was hardly needed with Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, and import Charles Rhodes doing most of the heavy-lifting.
“I think yung versatility ng team namin: we can go to June Mar sometimes if we have the advantage, but if not, we can go to the wingman namin which happened,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “Sa guard si Alex. I’m happy na supposed to be Alex is expecting the BPC, but Chris Ross really, his performance is really superb na alam ko naman na maraming natuwa sa kanya, the reason why he's the BPC.
“But Alex showed in the finals na he's also deserving,” he added. “Now he's the MVP of the finals and that's why he's very thankful sa team because they keep on supporting him. Alam natin ang feeling na maging disappointment, but I’m happy na it's not in his mind. The important thing is not the award but to win the championship.”
Then Santos reminded everyone that he still has it as the former MVP thrived in his sixth man role this conference, giving way to Rhodes in the starting nit.
“Sa team na ito, there is a lot of sacrificing,” Austria said. “Arwind is always off the bench, he's averaging twenty minutes per game, that's unusual for him. Because of sacrifices.”
“June Mar, it will depend on the situation,” he added. “Alam namin he's a very important piece of our team, but this is an import conference, against an import na (Joshua) Smith, he has always the advantage. This is a game of adjustments and we can adjust in the game by fielding a small lineup, and naging effective yun para sa amin.”
Having all his prized wards in one unit truly makes Austria blessed as he steered his team to his fifth title in his eight conferences at the helm.
“I’m so grateful because I think I’m one of the blessed coaches here in the PBA right now,” he beamed.