June Mar Fajardo had massive impact on Game Four of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, Sunday.
Unlike the series’ first three games where he found it hard to get to his usual spots near the rim and rake points – no thanks to the TNT KaTropa’s defense – the 6-foot-10 slotman adjusted better this time around.
Fajardo then spearheaded his San Miguel Beermen’s 20-4 scoring blitz – including 10 straight points – to flip a slim one-point deficit to a wide 84-69 advantage around 15 seconds into the final period.
“Kasi hinahanap ako ng mga teammates ko, binibigyan nila ako.
“Kahit nagmi-mintis ako, pero hinahanap pa rin nila ako, binibigyan nila ako ng kumpyansa. So kailangan kong suklian ‘yung tiwala nila,” said Fajardo of that run.
Then when their rivals knocked to within just two, 96-98, with 40.3 seconds left in the game, Chris McCullough found Fajardo underneath the rim. Fajardo did not waste the import’s dish, as he sank the bucket to make it a 100-96 advantage.
“Yung last second ata, noong nasundot ni Terrence Jones sa poste… Buti nung pagbalik, nabigyan ako ng magandang pasa ng import namin. Kailangan kong umiskor kasi hinahanap na ako eh,” he said of that clutch shot.
Fajardo had 22 points and seven rebounds, and SMB won, 106-101, to tie the series at two games apiece.
Leo Austria was, of course, glad that San Miguel were able to avoid dropping to a deep 1-3 hole in the title clash. And he’s glad as well that Fajardo was able to play his game confidently, much to the benefit of the Beermen.
“June Mar was able to play comfortably inside, and that’s what we need from him,” the decorated mentor said.
“When we won the five-peat or the seventh championship, he’s the priority in the shaded area for the perimeter shooter to be open and can create on their shot. And that’s what happened.”
But despite his impact, the league’s reigning five-time MVP still deflected the credit to the rest of the Beermen.
“Credit sa mga teammate ko, ang ganda ng nilaro namin. Tapos credit sa coaching staff namin, ang ganda ng game plan namin. Nasunod namin ‘yung game plan namin,” he said.
“So sana next game, masunod ulit namin ‘yung game plan.”