SMB veteran Yancy De Ocampo earns Fajardo praise for holding fort in his absence
June Mar Fajardo headed to a hospital after the game to have his cut stiched up. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo praised chief back-up Yancy de Ocampo for holding the fort when he had to retreat to the dugout early in Game Two of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fajardo sustained a cut above his right eye courtesy of an accidental elbow by San Miguel import Elijah Millsap late in the second quarter and had to retreat to the dugout to have it treated.

In his absence, 14-year veteran de Ocampo rose to the occasion, finishing with six points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of play to back up Fajardo, who had 18 points, 23 rebounds and one assist.

“Credit din kay Kuya Yancy nag-step up talaga siya,” said Fajardo after San Miguel won, 95-92, to level the best-of-five series at 1-1. “Alam naman natin na beterano si Kuya Yancy, pagdating sa playoffs eh so maaasahan talaga."

[See SMB weathers Ginebra comeback this time, ties series at 1-1]

De Ocampo, the 2002 top rookie pick who has won seven titles – four with BMeg/San Mig Coffee, two with San Miguel and one with TNT, his performance was nothing out of the ordinary.

“Parang normal game, pinasok ako ni coach so kailangan ko lang gawin ang duty ko parang normal lang. Ginamit ka so you have to do what you have to do,” said de Ocampo. “Syempre kung ano ang kaya mong gawin, gawin mo lang.”

Meanwhile, Fajardo headed straight to the hospital after the game to have stiches on his cut.

“Papunta pa kami sa St. Luke’s (Hospital), papatahi kasi malaki ang hiwa tapos malalim,” he said. “Hindi naman siya masaki, konti lang, ‘yung dugo lang kasi (tumutulo).”

The two-time MVP said he was more concerned about the game than his wound when he went to the dugout in the first half.

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“‘Yung down kami sa series, ‘yun na ang pinaka-motivation kaya kailangan talaga namin mag-bounce back eh,” said Fajardo.

Game Three is set on Friday. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin