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MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo refuses to be a mere spectator while his team fights for a PBA championship.
Dealing with calf issues, Fajardo went against his doctor’s advice to rest as he helped San Miguel close in on the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown by playing a key role in a 108-98 win over Magnolia in Game 5 on Sunday, February 11.
The seven-time PBA MVP put up an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double in powering the Beermen to a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven finals.
“We needed to win and we needed to bounce back. I wanted to play because I didn’t want to waste the opportunity that we’re already in the finals,” said Fajardo in Filipino.
“My injury isn’t that bad. I can play with it so I did.”
The tightening in his left calf limited Fajardo to a conference-low 25 minutes in Game 4 as the Hotshots tied the series at 2-2.
Although Fajardo still finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals in Game 4, his absence in crucial stretches proved costly, with Magnolia taking advantage to pull level with San Miguel after dropping the first two games.
His team in danger of suffering a third straight loss, the 6-foot-10 big man knew he could not just sit idly by.
With Fajardo clogging up the paint, Jericho Cruz and Simon Enciso connived for a three-point spree as they accounted for 13 of the 16 treys the Beermen made in Game 5.
“I hardly did anything,” said Fajardo, often shying away from taking credit for the success of the team. “My teammates did most of the work. Jericho and Simon stepped up.”
As San Miguel goes for the title clincher in Game 6 at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, February 14, Fajardo put a premium on giving his body a breather.
“Our goal is to win a championship. We have two days off so I’ll use them properly to rest,” he said. – Rappler.com