Jun 11, 2024

Two-day break a welcome relief for banged-up June Mar

JUNE Mar Fajardo welcomed the two-day break in the PBA Philippine Cup finals between San Miguel and Meralco heading into Game 4 to rest his tired, banged-up body.

The seven-time MVP has been playing an average of 41 minutes in the first three games of the best-of-seven title series, including playing without relief the entire second half of Game 3 despite being in foul trouble.

Often on the receiving end of the Bolts' daunting defense, Fajardo admitted the physicality of the finals are also taking toll on him.

"Nakakapagod din. Maganda yung depensa nila kasi ang dami nilang bigs. Tapos mabilis yung rotation nila," said the 6-foot-10 Cebuano.

Following the 93-89 loss Sunday night, both teams have a two-day break in between before they resume their battle Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Fajardo naturally, was grateful for the brief respite as the Beermen engaged the Bolts in three grind out games so far, which has a close average winning margin of just four points.

"Malaking bagay yun (rest) para sa amin, lalo na sa akin. Makaka-pagpahinga ako ng mahaba," he said. "Gagamitin ko yun ng maayos para fresh ako pagdating ng second half."

In the title series, Fajardo is averaging 17.3 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.0 blocks.

But in Game 3, he was held to just 12 points on just 2-of-5 shooting from the field. Though he did have 15 rebounds, Fajardo also accounted for seven of the team's 15 turnovers.

Definitely, the short break would help Fajardo energized physically and mentally for the second half of the finals.

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"Maganda yung depensa nila, maganda yung team game nila, maganda yung preparation nila. Kaya kailangan naming i-counter yun," he said. "Bounce back kami next game." (RG)