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MANILA, Philippines – It only gets better for San Miguel when June Mar Fajardo is around.
Fajardo came back from a six-game absence and helped the Beermen secure a twice-to-beat bonus in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs as he played a key role in a 125-117 win over Blackwater on Friday, January 12.
Complementing import Bennie Boatwright, Fajardo came off the bench and turned in all-around numbers of 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists off the bench after recovering from a hand injury that sidelined him for over a month.
The return of seven-time MVP Fajardo hardly affected the production of Boatwright, who followed up his 51-point explosion against Terrafirma nearly a week ago with 44 points on Friday.
“He makes my job easy because he’s such a great passer. When he gets the ball inside, they have to double him or they go zone,” said Boatwright.
“So all I have to do is space out and he’ll find me. He finds everybody. And if they don’t double, he can go one-on-one and that’s tough to stop. He’s a force to be reckoned with.”
The twin towers of Fajardo and Boatwright provide San Miguel a new dimension as opposing teams pick their poison which player between the two they want to contain.
An agile 6-foot-8 forward, Boatwright can do damage inside and out, as evidence by his combined 15-of-30 shooting from beyond the arc in the last two games.
In three games since he replaced original Beermen import Ivan Aska, Boatwright averaged 40.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Fajardo, meanwhile, is arguably the most unstoppable local when it comes to operating down low – both as a scorer and a facilitator.
Before hurting his hand, Fajardo normed 19.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 assists, and 1 steal in the first four games of the conference.
“My work is easier. It’s a good thing so I don’t get worn out,” said Fajardo.
San Miguel enters the playoffs on a five-game winning streak needing just one victory to advance to the semifinals. – Rappler.com