June Mar Fajardo admits learning a lot from 'experienced' Sonny Thoss in Finals rivalry
June Mar Fajardo paid the ultimate compliment to rival Sonny Thoss at the end of a fiercely fought PBA Philippine Cup Finals that went the distance. Jerome Ascano

AFTER engaging Alaska counterpart Sonny Thoss in a rather physical battle in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo paid the ultimate compliment to his veteran rival.

“Alam naman natin si Sonny, magaling eh. Marami akong natutunan sa Finals na ito at marami rin akong natutunan kay Sonny, kasi kuya ko rin siya sa court eh,” said a beaming Fajardo, moments after helping San Miguel beat a tough Alaska side, 80-78 in a gripping championship finale to capture the coveted All-Filipino title on Wednesday night.

Although physically bigger and stronger, Fajardo admitted the 6-foot-7 Thoss played him smart and used his court savvy against him in an epic best-of-seven series that went the distance.

“Ahead siya sa akin, beterano siya at mas marami siyang experience kesa sa akin kaya nga naka-score siya sa akin kasi sobrang napagod na ako at masakit na tuhod ko,” explained the 6-foot-10 youthful San Miguel center.

[See Compton on clutch Santos three-pointer: 'To make that shot, that's guts]

But in the end, the younger Fajardo admitted he gave everything he got in the no-tomorrow game, aware a loss would mean extending the team’s long all-Filipino title drought.

“Kailangan na talaga ilabas lahat eh. Pero nilabas ko naman lahat sa previous game though ito na yung last game eh. Wala ng bukas sa Finals,” added Fajardo, adjudged Best Player of the Conference.

The 25-year-old pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu capped his dominant performance in the season-opening conference with 21 points and 25 rebounds to become the first local player to post a 20-20 performance in the Finals.

[See Wondering why balloons failed to fall during SMB party? Here's an explanation]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava