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Sports

Long lull a blessing for San Mig’s June Mar

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo is certainly the one that benefits the most from the relatively long break after Game Six, with the 6-foot-10 Cebuano behemoth getting more recovery period for the deciding Game Seven of the San Miguel Beer-Alaska Milk showdown for the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup crown.

Needless to say, the healthier Fajardo could be the bigger weapon he would be for the history-seeking San Miguel Beermen.

A special place in league history is actually at stake for both San Miguel and Alaska as they fight for all the marbles at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Beermen are on course to be the first PBA team ever to win a best-of-seven title playoff from 0-3 down. The Aces, meanwhile, could be the first team ever to win a deciding Game Seven after blowing a 3-0 series lead.

With a four-day breather after Game Six Friday, both teams took a rest Saturday then resumed light practice yesterday.

It’s a welcome rest for both teams, more so probably for the Beermen because of the condition of Fajardo.

“I think the break is good for both teams. June Mar will be able to recover. He’s only about 70 percent (of his old playing condition). He may be 85-90 percent by Game Seven. So it’s good for us,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

With a brace to support his injured left knee, Fajardo returned to play some minutes in Games Five and Six, helping the Beermen extend the series to a winner-take-all setto.

He chipped in 13 points and four rebounds in 16:28 minutes of action in their 86-73 overtime triumph in Game Five, then put in 16 markers, seven boards, two steals, one block and one steal against two turnovers in 22:10 minutes of play in their 100-89 triumph Friday.

There’s no doubt Fajardo can be so dominant if in tiptop shape.

In the semifinals, he was at his best, delivering whopping averages of 34 points and 16 rebounds.

With the status of Fajardo, Alaska coach Alex Compton does believe “the rest is better for San Miguel than us.”

But Compton doesn’t believe the Beermen are more tired than the Aces.

“Some people have written that they’re tired, but I think they shouldn’t be any more tired than us,” said Compton. “We’ve got guys doing some stuff for Gilas. Calvin (Abueva) and Vic (Manuel) played (FIBA world tour) three-on-three, and they (the Beermen) didn’t have anyone doing that stuff.

“So they’re rested. I think they’re fresh,” Compton added.

An edge for their Aces was their early 4-1 conquest of the Globalport Batang Pier in their side of the semifinals.

The Aces, however, need all the energy and intensity they could get with their kind of play – relentless pressing defense.

But the Beermen handled this well in the last three games.

“They’re doing a great job and I have to commend coach Leo. He’s a good man and a good coach. I’ve seen him handle team some teams that are not really talented and he’s now got the most talented team in the league and he’s maximizing it,” said Compton.

vuukle comment

ACIRC

ALEX COMPTON

BEERMEN

BUT COMPTON

BUT THE BEERMEN

COMPTON

FAJARDO

GAME FIVE

GAME SEVEN

GAME SEVEN OF THE SAN MIGUEL BEER-ALASKA MILK

SAN MIGUEL

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