Defiant Beau Belga insists Almazan-less RoS knows what to do to stop Fajardo
With Raymond Almazan still out owing to a calf injury, the remaining Elasto Painters’ big men in Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferrada, Jay Washington, and Dexter Maiquez have their work cut out for them against SMB star June Mar Fajardo. Jaime Campos

THEY say two heads are better than one. But in the case of Rain or Shine, two bodies – or even more – are better than one against June Mar Fajardo in its PBA Philippine Cup matchup against San Miguel Beer on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With Raymond Almazan still out owing to a calf injury, the remaining Elasto Painters’ big men in Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferrada, Jay Washington, and Dexter Maiquez have their work cut out for them taking turns in defending the 6-foot-10 Fajardo.

Belga, though, is confident they have the game plan in place to slow down the three-time reigning MVP.

“Tulungan lang,” the veteran enforcer said after practice on Thursday. “Sanay naman kami na kulang kami. Even with coach Yeng (Guiao), kahit maraming injured, nasu-surive naman namin eh, kahit nga sampung tao lang eh.”

“And alam na namin kung anong gagawin namin, so tulungan lang,” he added ahead of the battle between the tournament’s top two teams that tips off at 7 p.m.

[See Lingering Almazan injury leaves RoS without best big man for match vs Fajardo, SMB]

Ginebra found a way to neutralize Fajardo, who was held to just nine points on six shots – the first time the SMB big man was held to single-digit scoring this conference, in their game against the Beermen, who still held on for a 72-70 win last Sunday.

And E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia is hoping they can do the same as they simulated SMB’s offensive sets in practice on the eve of the encounter preceded by a match between GlobalPort and NLEX at 4:15 p.m.

“More on walkthroughs on how to defend the offense of San Miguel, how to get June Mar out of his comfort zone, kung saan ang threat niya, because we know it’s very difficult to guard him,” Garcia said. “We just have to find ways to stop June Mar from scoring.”

“And our bigs have to play wisely on how to use their fouls, kasi mahirap na ma-foul trouble yung mga big man,” he added. “So we just made some adjustments sa defense namin.”

The E-Painters are running second behind the Beermen with a 5-2 win-loss record and a win will not only pull them just a half-game behind the pacesetters who have won seven of their first eight games, but also secure a postseason berth for RoS.

“Gusto lang namin manalo to secure a spot sa playoffs. Yun lang,” Belga said. “Hindi namin iniisip na mag-number one kami o number two. Extra bonus na lang yun sa amin.” 

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos