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    Cone warns quicker SMB 'playing the best in the league' sans Fajardo

    Cone real talk or mind games?
    Mar 20, 2023
    Tim Cone Ginebra vs NLEX
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    WHETHER June Mar Fajardo is there or not, Tim Cone warned Barangay Ginebra will have a hard time overcoming San Miguel when they clash in a best-of-five series of the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.

    To defend their Governors' Cup championship, the Gin Kings need to go through a Beermen side which, according to Cone, has been playing its best basketball in the absence of Fajardo, who is out with an MCL injury.

    “We are playing well but San Miguel is playing probably the best in the league right now,” said Cone. “They are really playing well. They are like us. They are sharing the ball. They play defense a little differently from us. It is super effective, I think they lead the league in defense, I believe.”

    READ: C-Stan credits Ginebra teammates for rise in BPC race

    “I wish it’s a best-of-seven series because it gives you more room for error. But it’s going to be a really, really tough series even if June Mar is not there,” said Cone.


    San Miguel beat Ginebra, 102-99, in their elimination round contest last February 17.

    Cone said Fajardo’s absence has also allowed the Beermen to step up the pace on offense while still having a dominant presence inside in import Cameron Clark.


      “They’ve proven over the past three games without June Mar that they can play at a high level without him. In fact, they play a little quicker, more of an up-and-down. Their import has an opportunity to dominate a little bit more inside. They’ve been able to overcome June Mar’s absence with flying colors,” said Cone.

      Cone also took notice of the play of CJ Perez, who has become the alpha male for San Miguel this season with his array of moves on the floor.

      “Obviously, CJ Perez is playing MVP basketball. Nobody has been able to stop him from getting to the basket. He has a good balance. He has been hitting threes.”

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      “They have a lot of weapons out there. You just have to figure out how to contain someone especially the import and CJ. They’ve all contribute and they are moving the ball much better than they have in the past. That’s been the key to their success,” said Cone.

      With Fajardo out, however, Cone is also looking to take advantage of the splendid play of Christian Standhardinger, who is leading the statistical race for the Best Player of the Conference while filling the gap left by Japeth Aguilar.

      “Christian was our June Mar stopper. He literally is the best player in the league in terms of matching up with June Mar. And now that June Mar isn’t there, his duties will change. We will try to put him in a position where we can take the most advantage of his defensive skills whether it’s going to be help side or whether it’s going to be guarding the import himself or whatever,” said Cone.


      “But there is so many players on that team that you have to account for,” he added.

      The start of the semifinals will depend on the results of Wednesday's quarterfinal matches.

      Get more of the latest sports news & updates on SPIN.ph

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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