Five-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo had 35 points and 21 rebounds in Game One of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
Usually, him posting those monster numbers would have resulted in a win. However, he ended up on the wrong side as the Magnolia Hotshots took the contest, 99-94.
Still, the gentle giant from Pinamongahan, Cebu kept a straight face after the game.
“Okay lang ‘yun. Good thing na best-of-seven ito,” admitted the six-time champion.
In Game One, San Miguel relied on the 6-foot-10 behemoth to keep pace with the quick Hotshots, especially in the final frame.
Struggling to find their shot from the outside, the defending, four-time Philippine Cup champions decided to just look for Fajardo underneath, which had him scoring their last 15 points in the final frame.
“I’m not relying on June Mar alone. But if given the chance to get him the ball, why not?” said head coach Leo Austria.
“The problem was our outside shooting.”
“Kailangan umiskor eh. Hinahanap nila ako, pinapasahan nila ako, kaya kailangan ko mag-contribute. Sayang nga lang natalo,” said Fajardo, on the other hand.
With plenty of Finals experience under his belt, the eight-year pro shared that they don’t have the luxury of sulking over the loss. The only thing they can do is move forward, as Game Two is on Friday.
“Sabi nga ni coach, it’s a thing of the past. Kailangan lang mag-bounce back,” he stressed.
“Siyempre nakaka-frustrate. Sino ba naman ang matutuwa na talo. Pero kailangan lang talaga mag-bounce back. Kailangan namin maging positive,” he continued.
“Medyo pangit ang nilaro namin, pero up lang sila by five. Paano kung maganda, kung pumasok ‘yung shooting namin?”