MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Beermen had a chance to sweep the TNT KaTropa to speed up their five-peat bid in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, but it was not meant to be.
RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario all heated up at the right moments, causing TNT to upend San Miguel, 93-88, and force a quarterfinals rubber match on Wednesday, April 10.
San Miguel absorbed a double-whammy in the loss as reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo also suffered minor head and left knee injuries midway through the 4th quarter.
Although the 6-foot-10 gentle giant returned after a few minutes on the bench, the team ultimately failed to capitalize and finish off TNT.
"Medyo, medyo masakit, pero mas masakit na natalo kami," he said after a monster 26-point, 19-rebound outing.
"Pero okay lang, ganun talaga. 'Di naman madaling kalaban 'yung TNT eh. Kailangan naming magpahinga, tignan sa viewing ano 'yung mali namin, mga lapses namin. Sana maganda 'yung adjustments namin."
(It hurts a bit, but losing hurts more. But that's okay, it is what it is. TNT is not an easy opponent. We have to rest, see what we did wrong, find out our lapses. Hopefully, we adjust well.)
Fajardo got hit in the head by an inadvertent elbow by Troy Rosario during a rebound battle, then landed awkwardly on his left knee. He had to sit for a couple of minutes on the court before being helped up to the bench.
There, he also had to patch up his bleeding forehead before eventually returning to finish the game.
Along with head coach Leo Austria, Fajardo admits that he's not at 100%, but he's hoping for the best in Game 3 at the Araneta Coliseum.
"He's feeling some pain on his knee, and then lot of banging in his body," Austria said. "Hindi lang naman 'yung paa niya, pati 'yung katawan niya (It's not only his foot, but his body as well)."
"'Di ko alam eh, puwede siguro (I don't know, I think I can)," Fajardo said when asked about his Game 3 playing status.
Whatever the case may be, Fajardo is just looking for another war come Wednesday night.
"Ine-expect namin na 'di madali 'yung Game 3," he said. "Sana maipanalo namin at makapag-adjust kami nang maayos. Pahinga rin nang maayos. Kailangan naming ipanalo 'yung Game 3 kasi ayaw pa namin magbakasyon."
(We're expecting that Game 3 wouldn't also be easy. Hopefully, we win and adjust well. We also hope to rest well. We need to win Game 3 because we still don't want to go on vacation.) – Rappler.com