JUNE Mar Fajardo insisted he has hardly benefited from the officiating in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series between San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine.
Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao said the SMB superstar has a huge advantage owing to how easily, he believes, the referees call fouls in the best-of-seven series.
"Mahirap talagang depensahan (si Fajardo) especially with the rules now, ang daming maninipis na fouls na tinatawag, kaya kung malaki at malaki ka, ang laking advantage mo. I guess sa free throws lang, ang dami mo ng makukuha,” said Guiao, noting the 22 free throws awarded to the SMB slotman.
“So before the game starts, may plus 10 free throws na si June Mar against us. And I think that’s a disadvantage for us,” Guiao added.
But Fajardo said he has been at the receiving end of hard fouls.
“San 'yung manipis (na tawag)? Hard foul na nga 'yung iba eh,” the reigning league MVP said after the Beermen’s loss in Game Two.
“Basta ako naglalaro lang ako,” he added. “Hindi naman ako nakikipag-argue sa tawag. Hindi naman natin pwede sisisihin 'yung refs. Hindi naman ganun kadali trabaho nila.”
Fajardo added he has had a tough time scoring despite averaging 37 points in the first two games.
“Mahirap pa rin maka-score,” he insisted. “Ang lalaki ng tao. Tapos ilang players pa pumapalit-palit ng bantay sa akin, so napapagod rin ako.”
Raymond Almazan, the tallest among the ROS big men at 6’8”, 6-foot-6 JR Quiñahan, and Beau Belga and Jewel Ponferrada, who both stand 6’5”, have been taking turns guarding the 6-foot-10 Fajardo.
Guiao doesn’t mind if Fajardo keeps getting his usual offensive numbers as long as the ROS big men make him bleed for his points.
“June Mar is almost unstoppable, but we just need to keep him working,” the veteran coach said. “Kailangan lang magtrabaho sya. We know he will make his baskets, but we have to make life difficult for June Mar and you can see that he was missing his free throws in the endgame.”
“If this series goes to a Game Seven, we'll try to give him hell for seven games,” he added ahead of Game Three on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao believes Fajardo will eventually get worn out.
“Baka naman pag nasa seventh game na kami, baka pwedeng lantang gulay na rin sya,” he said. “Pahihirapan talaga namin, kasi 'yun lang ang chance namin.”
“The longer the series goes, the better it is for us.”