June Mar Fajardo gets a welcome break as super-subs Garcia, Espinas hold fort for SMB
SMB star slotman June Mar Fajardo hugs it out with Beau Belga after the quarterfinal win over Rain or Shine. Jaime Campos

ANTIPOLO CITY - San Miguel continues its winning streak in the PBA Philippine Cup even with go-to-guy June Mar Fajardo riding the bench for the two-time defending champion.

For the league’s three-time MVP, the change in scenario is definitely a welcome one.

“Ngayon balance ang scoring namin. Hindi lang isang tao, dalawa, o tatlo lang yung gumagawa. Halos 'yung mga pinapasok ni coach nagde-deliver din. Maganda yun para sa amin.”

The top seeded Beermen are back in the semifinals of the season-opening conference without relying much on Fajardo as RR Garcia and Gabby Espinas came off the bench to finish in double figures in the 98-91 win over Rain or Shine on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center here.

Garcia topscored with 25 points and had four rebounds and three assists, while Espinas added 10 and seven rebounds.

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The 6-foot-10 Fajardo had another double-double of 14 points and 14 boards but played below his 40-minute per game average in the win - the 10th straight for the Beermen dating back to the elimination round.

The pride of Cebu considers the ‘break’ a big relief for him especially with the bigger battle ahead awaiting the Beermen in their quest to win the ‘Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy – given to the team that wins the all-Filipino championship three straight seasons.

“Maganda 'yun na nakaka-pagpahinga yung starting give,” Fajardo stressed. “And then nagkakaroon ng kumpiyansa yung second group.”

San Miguel will take a well-deserved rest on Monday and goes back to practice on Tuesday as it awaits its opponent in the best-of-seven semis from the winner of the TnT Katropa-Globalport best-of-three playoff.

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