The San Miguel Beermen walked away with a 108-78 blowout in the series opener, answering in the process questions of depth and whether the team has enough gas left in the tank after a relatively tiring road to the finals.
All five starters finished in double-digits for the Beermen, led by 32 points from Arizona Reid and an 18-point, 17-rebound production from June Mar Fajardo
San Miguel’s second unit provided enough spark defensively, keeping the starters fresh all-game long. San Miguel out-rebounded Alaska 55-44, and had a 16-2 edge in points off turnovers as the Aces played lackadaisical, surprisingly.
Head coaches Alex Compton and Leo Austria plus big man June Mar Fajardo shared their thoughts on the game and what adjustments they should make for Game 2.
On how San Miguel pulled off a big win despite being supposedly exhausted: “Hindi ko rin alam ang nangyari dahil ang ine-expect ko ay tough game for us. Worried ako sa energy namin pero it happened na parang more energetic kami than them. But it was evident na napapagod na sila and lamang kami so there was a chance to rotate the players. I am proud dahil depleted na depleted na ang energy nila but ipinakita nila ang lakas nila.”
On his approach in the series: “Surprised ako because we know Alaska is a physical team but maybe dahil we are not provoking them to be physical. I am promoting clean basketball para ma-expose ang talent ng player. After all, I don’t want any players from both sides to get hurt. Gusto namin mapakita ang skills ng players.”
On mindset heading into Game 2: “Panalo ka ng tambak o hindi, it is still one game. I am expecting them to bounce back hard in the next game. Knowing coach Alex, he is a great motivator. Makikita mo yung team nila, very cohesive and disciplined.”
On losing big: “There is no stat for being out-coached but that’s just what happened in that game. We have to be better. They have a lot of threats; they killed us on the glass which has not happened in a while. The whole team rebounded the ball well.”
On rust: “This is what I was afraid of. I felt we lost our flow. Shots we usually make, we missed. We were missing layups and open threes. There is not much of a story here but I was out-coached and the team was beaten from start to finish.”
On overcoming a big loss in the opener: “I feel like the score is not indicative of who they are and who we are. I still believe we can beat him. But whatever we did tonight, that is not going to work for sure.”
June Mar Fajardo
On being the verge of duplicating Danny Ildefonso’s back to back MVPs feat: “Nag-cross rin sa isip ko pero focused kami sa championship. Yun ang goal. Syempre blessed ako na naging teammate ko siya. Malaki yung value ng mga tinuro niya sa akin.”
On what to do in Game 2: “Wala namang madali. Last push na ito. Di kami dapat maging kumpiyansa. Alam naman natin na 20 points o 1 point, same lang na panalo. Alam natin kaya nilang bumawi so ready lang dapat kami.”