SMB coach stands by decision to give Fajardo heavy minutes amid wear and tear fears
San Miguel Beer has found a balance in offense but still relies heavily on main man June Mar Fajardo. Dante Peralta

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria is standing by his decision to let June Mar Fajardo play extensive minutes for the Beermen, as the long as the SMB superstar continues his dominant display in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

Austria has been maximizing the services of Fajardo, who has averaged 39.8 minutes in the first five games of their semifinal series against Rain or Shine, leaving some people concerned about wear and tear.

But the SMB coach said he will stick to his routine as long as the reigning MVP sustains his averages – 34.8 points, 16.4 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, and 1.8 assists, making him poised for another Best Player of the Conference award.

“We’ve been criticized for allowing June Mar to play thirty-eight to forty minutes per game, but remember, he’s scoring (that much),” Austria said. “Pag nag-click yung player mo, i-stay mo sa loob.

“Nagre-react lang naman ako dun sa performance nung player,” he added. “If you’re playing a lousy game with a lot of turnovers, you have to sit.”

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Fajardo has never played less than 38 minutes in the series and is expected to play heavily anew in Game Six on Friday when the Beermen seek to finish off  the Elasto Painters and arrange a finals rematch with Alaska.

“Laging sinasabi na equal opportunity, but no, there’s no equal opportunity for every player,” Austria explained. “But in terms of role, pare-parehas kayo ng opportunity.”

“Of course June Mar is a big advantage, so we have to exploit that,” he added.

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