June Mar Fajardo offers no excuses, says TNT defense made life difficult for him
SMB slotman June Mar Fajardo is held to eight attempts in Game Five by a TNT defense that double-, triple-teamed him at every opportunity. Jerome Ascano

JUNE MAR Fajardo admitted TnT Katropa’s defense continued to bother him in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

By this, he meant honest defense.

The three-time league MVP was held to just eight attempts by the Texters in a 101-94 loss in Game Five Thursday night that left the two-time defending champion on the brink of elimination in the all-Filipino conference.

The 6-foot-10 pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, but was limited to just 5 of 8 shooting from the field. At one point in the final quarter, he missed five straight shots from the foul line.

Fajardo offered no excuses as he gave credit to the Texters’ pesky defense on him for his ‘average’ production on a night the Beermen fell to a 2-3 hole in the best-of-seven series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Maganda ang depensa nila sa akin. Alam na alam nila kung paano ako depensahan,” said Fajardo, who the Beermen contented earlier in the semis was not getting the respect he deserved from game officials as a three-time MVP winner.

[See Rejuvenated TNT, Williams leave San Miguel on brink of elimination]

None of that was apparent in the San Miguel loss that saw the reigning champs held to just 40 percent shooting from the field (33 of 82), get outscored on fastbreak points, 15-0, had less bench production, 27-15, and allowed the Texters to outscore them on points off turnovers, 27-16.

“Ginawa naman namin yung pinagagawa ni coach. Nagmintis lang kami ng ilang mga tira,” said Fajardo, 27. “Maganda rin talaga yung depensa nila sa akin.”

Fajardo nonetheless displayed a huge fighting heart by vowing to bounce back in the next game and forcing a do-or-die encounter for a berth in the finals.

“Bounce back na lang,” he stressed. “Hindi pa naman tapos yan. Babawi kami.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos