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    Mark Barroca hopes Magnolia can find a June Mar stopper someday

    May 18, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    JUNE Mar Fajardo has become and will remain as the barometer in the PBA in the years to come.

    And so following Magnolia’s heartbreaker of a loss to Fajardo and the Beermen for the Philippine Cup championship recently, Mark Barroca can’t help but wish the Hotshots can get a young, big player who can match up well with the five-time MVP.

    “Sana darating ang time na may makuha pa kaming bata na malaki, kasi mahirap i-stop si June Mar,” said Barroca after the Hotshots lost to the Beermen in the deciding Game Seven after leading by as many as 17 points.

    “Yun talaga yung problema namin.”

    It’s not that Barroca is undermining Magnolia’s bigs led by Ian Sangalang and the unsinkable Rafi Reavis.

    It’s just that the 6-foot-11 Fajardo was just head and shoulders above the rest, dominating the series with averages of 22.9 points, 19.1 rebounds and 1.9 block shots on the way to winning the PBA Press Corps-Honda Finals MVP award.


    In the title-clinching win, the towering Cebuano dropped 17 points and reset the league’s all-time high record for rebound in a single game with 31 – surpassing the previous mark of 29 boards grabbed by Marcelo Simbulan of 7Up during the inaugural season of the PBA in 1975.

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    Fajardo also had two blocks and two steals.

    For the meantime, Barroca looks forward to the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup, which unveils on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena, where the Hotshots will parade 6-foot-9 John Fields as import.

    Fields, who suited up for Kia last season, could somehow help Magnolia cover up the middle against Fajardo and other big guys such as Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, Poy Erram, Mo Tautuaa and Raymond Almazan.

    “Hopefully next conference, magtrabaho kami ulit. May import na makakatulong sa pagtulak kay June Mar,” a smiling Barroca said.

    The Hotshots won’t be playing until June 5.


    Despite falling short of winning a second straight championship, Barroca is still proud of what Magnolia has achieved in the All-Filipino.

    “Sobrang sakit pero proud pa rin kami na umabot kami dito,” he said. “Na nakalaro namin ang San Miguel ng Game 7 pa.”

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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