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June Mar Fajardo thankful for teammates’ game-saving plays



Tiebreaker Times June Mar Fajardo thankful for teammates' game-saving plays Basketball News PBA  San Miguel Beermen PBA Season 43 June Mar Fajardo 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup

June Mar Fajardo had nothing but thanks to his teammates for their game-saving plays in Game Two of ther 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals clash with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The reigning four-time league Most Valuable Player had a handful of chances to win it — or prevent the match from going into overtime — for the Beermen, but his shots, which came from point-blank range, surprisingly missed.

Firstly, there was the missed one-hander he had in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, but luckily he was able to back-tap the ball to Arwind Santos, who then made the game-tying triple with 13 ticks to go to send it to OT.

The second took place in the final moments of the extra period, where his open lay-up off a pick-and-roll play clanged off the rim. But then, Marcio Lassiter was there at the right spot and made the tip-in with 3.2 seconds left.

The Beermen won, 104-102, and are now ahead 2-0 in the race-to-four series.

“Buti nanalo kami. Thankful ako sa mga teammates ko,” said Fajardo, who finished with 33 points, 19 rebounds, and two blocks — indeed a remarkable way of bouncing back after a nine-point, seven-board outing in Game One.

“Ang dami kong namintis pero sa twice na namintis ako, na-save ni Arwind at na-save ni Marcio. Napaganda nila. Thankful kami na nanalo kami dito.”

Fajardo admitted that Game Two had been a tiring one for him and the Beermen. The match lasted two hours and 32 minutes, and the 28-year-old played for nearly 50 minutes — probably the reason why he missed those gimmes.

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“Siyempre nakakapagod kasi oopensa ka na, dedepensa ka pa. Pero part talaga yun ng game,” exhaled the Cebuano star.

“Sobrang nakakapagod yung game.”

But he didn’t want that reason to hamper San Miguel’s desire to win Game Two. “Kailangan naming lumaban hanggang sa dulo. Mahirap maging 1-1 kasi magshi-shift ang momentum sa kanila. Maganda talaga ang nilaro nila.”

Gane Three is set for Tuesday, March 13, and the Beermen are looking to maximize all the time they have before that bout by resting their beaten bodies. But Fajardo doesn’t want to forget their goal for Tuesday: go up 3-0.

“Expected na next game, bibigay nila yung best nila kasi mahirap makabangon sa 0-3. Yun din ang goal namin, maipanalo yung Game 3 para mas lumaki yung chance namin makapasok sa Finals,” he said.

“Kailangang maging ready next game.”