Fajardo stands tall in Phl Cup

June Mar Fajardo is determined to prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with despite San Miguel Beer’s struggle in recent years and a Best Player of the Conference award is a strong indication that he is truly back on top.

But for the gentle giant from Cebu, an individual accolade is just a mere icing on the cake as his main goal is to lead the Beermen to the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup title.

“I’m just really focused on the game,” said the 6-foot-10 Fajardo, who bested teammate CJ Perez and Tropang Giga stalwart Mikey Williams in the voting for the prestigious plum.

“The series is really physical and we are expecting it. I just need to be composed when I’m inside and I shouldn’t let my emotions flare.”

After a season-long layoff due to a gruesome injury he suffered while preparing for the 2020 season, Fajardo took his sweet time before regaining his form.

The wait was worth it.

Fajardo led the Beermen to the top spot in the eliminations before creaming Blackwater in the quarterfinals and escaping Meralco in the semifinals to arrange a best-of-seven finals duel with the Tropang Giga.

In the finals, his brilliance was in full display.

The six-time Most Valuable Player was instrumental in leading the Beermen to a 2-1 lead in the series.

In Game 3, he delivered monster numbers of 27 points and 27 rebounds to register his highest scoring-rebounding output in four years and lead San Miguel to a 108-100 victory.

He topped the BPC derby with averages of 18.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists at the end of the eliminations to get near to his ninth diadem.

Still, Fajardo is keeping himself grounded and expecting a tougher job inside the paint against TNT big men in Kelly Williams and Poy Erram.

“It’s up to the referees if they will call the fouls, that’s their job. My job is to play harder,” Fajardo said.

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