June Mar Fajardo says avoiding 3-1 hole, not winning BPC, inspired season-high performance in PBA PH Cup Finals Game 4

June Mar Fajardo was dominant for San Miguel on the night he was named the BPC. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--In one of the many times a PBA superstar came alive right after he was named the Best Player of the Conference, June Mar Fajardo seemingly responded to his 10th BPC plum by dropping a season-high 28 points in Game 4 of the 2024 Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

However, the 6-foot-10 center downplayed the BPC factor and said that his brilliant game was more about the desperation to keep San Miguel from falling to a rough finals deficit against Meralco.

"Hindi ako ginanahan dahil nanalo ako ng BPC. Kailangan ko talaga i-domina yung sarili ko sa ilalim kasi pag natalo kami, 3-1. Mahirap bumawi galing sa 3-1. Gusto naming manalo. Gusto naming ma-tie yung series," Fajardo said after the Beermen got back at the Bolts to tie the count at 2-2.

While he already experienced climbing back from a 3-1 finals deficit--3-0 actually--during the 2015 Philippine Cup Finals "Beeracle", Fajardo is aware that Meralco is a different team with some analysts already thinking they could have a solid shot at beating SMB and denying them the season double.

He then deflected the credit to the other Beermen who contributed in what would be their best offensive assault so far in this series.

Almost unstoppable in this conference every time they reach 100 points, SMB scored 111 points in Game 4 on 48 percent field goal shooting highlighted by 30-of-52 on deuces.

Fajardo was 9-for-14 from the field, seemingly having a smoother time dealing with Meralco's tough interior defense led by Cliff Hodge, Raymond Almazan, and Brandon Bates.

The glaring stats, though, came from Vic Manuel and Terrence Romeo, who had quality minutes off the bench and finished with eight and seven points, respectively, as the Beermen continued to unleash their bench mob's potential.

"Nag-step up kaming lahat. Kung sino yung pinasok ni coach [Jorge Gallent], nag-step up lahat kaya nakuha namin yung panalo," Fajardo continued.

Despite what would be the most lopsided win of the series, Gallent somehow downplayed it, saying, "It's just nothing. It's a great win for us today, but we just tied the series and made it a best-of-three."

With SMB and even Meralco already picking up on offense midway through the supposed best-of-seven affair, Games 5 and 6 could boil down as a shootout, but huge defensive adjustments are expected come this weekend.

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