Even after one of his best games donning the Gilas jersey, June Mar Fajardo deflects praise and credits the win to the entire team.
“I’m thankful to my teammates and to coach for the trust he gave me,” Fajardo said in Filipino after helping the Philippines hold off Chinese Taipei, 90-83, Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The San Miguel Beermen center scored 17 points and collected eight rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in what was easily his best performance in an international tournament.
The four-time PBA MVP was even praised by national team coach Chot Reyes; saying he has no doubt the hero for the win against Chinese Taipei was Fajardo.
“I thought June Mar saved us,” said Reyes after the game. “We got off to that terrible start, but you know, it’s a big luxury for us to know that we’ve got a guy like June Mar coming off the bench.”
Reyes also pointed out that Fajardo made sure that Chinese-Taipei squad paid for its decision to focus the defense on Andre Blatche.
“They have to pick their poison,” said Reyes. “They keyed their defense on Blatche, took away his driving lanes, and doubled him at every opportunity.”
“But they can’t double-team both Blatche and June Mar,” he added. “That allowed June Mar to operate by himself and got him a lot of opportunities.”