AS Petron and San Mig Coffee go deeper to the PBA Governors Cup Finals, Marc Pingris can’t help but be amazed of the big improvement being shown by rookie big man June Mar Fajardo.
The year’s top overall pick has impressed the San Mig Coffee forward that he now likens Fajardo to a young Asi Taulava.
Gumagaling siya lalo ngayon. Tingin ko sa kanya, mas gagaling pa siya sa future,” said Pingris after the Mixers survived Fajardo’s 20-20 output for an 88-86 win Friday night that leveled the best-of-seven title series at 2-game apiece.
“Kasi si Fajardo eh parang di local, parang import siya eh. Nakikita ko sa kanya, yung Asi Taulava dati, na every game double-double.”
Fajardo finished the game with 20 points and a career-high 26 rebounds to earn his first 20-20
performance for the conference.
His dominating performance easily drew comparison to the 6-foot-10 Taulava, who was a dominant force inside during his prime while playing for Talk `N Text.
Now 40, Taulava recently returned to the league and suited up for Air21 following a successful stint with San Miguel in Asean Basketball League.
With Fajardo capable of throwing his weight around in an import-flavored conference, Pingris wonders how much more damage the Petron big man can do when the Philippine Cup opens next month.
“Siya (Fajardo) yung nakikita kong big man na magiging problema sa game, lalo na sa all-Filipino. Kaya siya uli paghahandaan namin sa next game kasi kapag nakaka-iskor siya ng malaki, nakakahabol ang Petron,” added the San Mig veteran.
Fajardo was a monster inside the paint during Petron’s huge second half comeback in Game 4, which saw the Boosters turn a 28-point deficit into a 79-78 lead on his follow-up dunk in the last
four minutes of the game.
But the Boosters failed to get the breaks in the end, allowing the Mixers to eke out the thrilling win.