RANGED against local giants one after the other, Pierre Henderson-Niles has come to his own conclusion that June Mar Fajardo is the superior player against longtime rival Greg Slaughter.
The Rain or Shine import came face-to-face with the Fajardo on Sunday at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series between his team and San Miguel, and believes the young big man obviously has the edge over his Barangay Ginebra counterpart.
“He’s way better, he’s way better,” said Henderson-Niles, who bucked early foul trouble to help the Elasto Painters complete a 98-94 comeback win over the fancied Beermen for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five affair.
“He’s not soft,” added the burly import.
Fajardo led all San Miguel locals with 23 points and 13 rebounds while playing Henderson-Niles single coverage from time to time. The Rain or Shine import committed his fourth and fifth fouls trying to stop the back-to-back league MVP underneath.
But Henderson-Niles said the Beermen were fortunate he had to sit out most of the second half due to foul trouble, otherwise his game output of 13 points and nine rebounds would have been better.
“I just got into foul trouble. If I didn’t get into foul trouble it would have been way better than my numbers,” he said. “(But) in the second half, I got back in the game and redeemed myself.”
The 28-year-old native of Memphis scored eight in the fourth period as he combined with rookie Maverick Ahanmisi in completing Rain or Shine’s rally from an 18-point deficit in the first quarter.
He claims he can play better against Fajardo in Game Two as long as he won't get into foul trouble again.
“I know how to adjust. I know what to do, and how to play this game. So we’ll see how it will turn out,” Henderson-Niles stressed.