June May Fajardo
Fajardo, Ross eye SEAG gold to make up for botched slam bid
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Their grand slam dreams in the PBA already in smokes, San Miguel Beer stalwarts June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross turn to the Southeast Asian Games as their venue to write a happier ending for the year.

Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Fajardo and Ross, whose Triple Crown-seeking SMB team got the boot in the quarterfinals of the Governors’ Cup, will make their debuts in the biennial meet set Dec. 4-10 at the MOA Arena.

“Doon na lang kami babawi sa Southeast Asian Games. Try natin maka-gold (We’ll look for our bounceback in the SEAG by winning the gold),” said Fajardo, a many-time national team player but one who hasn’t played in the peninsular conclave before.

It will be a much more special Team Phl stint for Ross, who has long wanted to don the Gilas colors but can’t do so due to FIBA’s eligibility rules in continental and global tournaments.

“It’s extra special to put that jersey on and it happens to be at home. It’s been a long time coming; for over 10 years I’ve been wanting to play for the national team,” said the Fil-Am, who can play in the SEAG as a local because of its relaxed eligibility requirements.

“And now my number is called, I’m going to be putting it all out there, play as hard as I can and try to win and make the country proud,” said Ross.

The Tim Cone-coached Gilas crew is bracketed with Singapore, Vietnam and Myanmar in Group A, while potential opponents in the medal round from the other group are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Cone has said it won’t be a “slam dunk” for the heavily favored Pinoy cagers, considering the vast improvement of our Asean neighbors and the presence of naturalized players in some of them.

“Hindi pa rin ganon kadali yan (It won’t be an easy job),” concurred Fajardo.

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