ARWIND Santos has carried the scoring load for San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup finals, but insisted reigning MVP and Best Player of the Conference June Mar Fajardo should show the way when the title series goes down to a deciding Game Seven.
The sweet-shooting wingman said for the Beermen to win the all-Filipino crown on Wednesday, they need to find a way for Fajardo to throw his weight around inside the paint like he used to.
“Alam natin si June Mar, unstoppable siya. Inaasahan natin siya. Di masasabing malakas ang San Miguel kapag wala ang isang June Mar kaya kailangang kailangan namin si June Mar para manalo kami (in Game Seven),” Santos said.
After dominating the semifinal series with his tournament-best 21.0 points per game average on the way to leading San Miguel to a four-game shutout of Talk ’N Text, the 6-10 Fajardo has slowed down offensively in the Finals.
Alaska’s phalanx of big men like Sonny Thoss, Sam Eman and the help defense provided by Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel have made life miserable for Fajardo whose scoring numbers dropped to just 13.5 points in the Finals.
Santos as early Game One had already talked about Fajardo needing to get the ball more to get the San Miguel offense going.
[See Arwind Santos says SMB big man June Mar Fajardo should get more touches]
Fajardo is averaging just 7.8 field goal attempts in the championship series, compared to 13 attempts during the semifinals.
But Santos, who is averaging a series-high 17.6 points, said he isn’t blaming Fajardo nor any of his teammates for the team’s failure to finish off Alaska on Sunday.
“Para sa akin, wala akong bine-blame kung sinong masama ang nilaro sa amin. Lagi ako nagtitiwala sa mga kasama ko. Mahal ko sila, at kahit na anong mangyari, alam natin na gusto nating kunin ang goal natin,” explained the 6-foot-4 former Far Eastern University star.
“Alam natin ang panghihinayang natin. Sobrang masakit, pero di dapat dun matapos ang samahan namin as a team.”
San Miguel hopes the balloons will finally fall from the rafters in Game Seven as the Beermen go for broke against Alaska this Wednesday before an expected fullhouse crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.