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    Trivia: SMB now 5-0 in games where Fajardo was awarded BPC before tip-off

    May 9, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    FACT: San Miguel is 5-0 (win-loss) in PBA Philippine Cup games when June Mar Fajardo receives his Best Player of the Conference award prior to tip-off.

    The Cebuano giant has been the difference in the Beermen's crucial Game Four wins that proved integral in helping the fabled ballclub rule the past four editions of the all-Filipino conference.

    Let's look back:

    Back in 2015, Fajardo poured 11 points and 11 rebounds in San Miguel's comfortable 88-70 win over Alaska that tied their series to two games apiece. The Beermen went on to wrap up the championship in seven games.

    A year later, the 6-10 slotman missed the first three games of the 2016 series as he nursed an injured knee. The Beermen, as a result, found themselves in a 0-3 hole in the championship series against the Aces.

    Fajardo showed up in Game Four to receive the BPC hardware at Philsports Arena and give San Miguel the emotional boost in a 110-104 overtime victory that enabled the Beermen to stay alive in the series.

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    That proved to be the first of four straight wins that completed for the proud franchise the biggest comeback in league history - a feat so great it is enshrined in memory as the "Beeracle."

    In 2017, Fajardo ran amok as he dropped 20 points, 13 boards, three assists, and two blocks in helping the Beermen take the 94-85 triumph over Ginebra. Two days after, San Miguel claimed the crown with a 91-85 Game Five clincher.

    The soft-spoken behemoth did it again a year later, this time against Magnolia, when he went for 16 points, 13 rebounds, three dimes, and three rejections to seal the tight 84-80 win to go up 3-1 in the 2018 Finals. Just like the season prior, San Miguel closed the series out with a 108-99 double-overtime victory to retain the title.

    [Note: The only time Fajardo won a BPC award but didn't win a championship was in the 2014 season, when San Miguel (then carrying the name of Petron) failed to reach the finals. Fajardo has eight BPCs in all, counting his two in import-laden conferences - the 2015 Governors' Cup and the 2018 Commissioner's Cup]

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    Just last Wednesday, Fajardo shot an uber-efficient 13-of-14 clip from the field to finish with 31 points and 14 rebounds, on top of a steal and a block to lead the Beermen's 114-98 blowout of the Hotshots that tied the best-of-seven series at two games each.

    So will it be the same, old story for Fajardo and the Beermen this time?

    Well, let's see. But the signs are ominous for the opposition.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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