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Fajardo vows to clinch title for SMB

Best Player of the Conference SMB's June Mar Fajardo with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud. Photo by Tony PIonilla

With a chance to finally win his first PBA title, center June Mar Fajardo hopes to again lead San Miguel Beer as they try to put the final nail in the coffin and bury Alaska in today’s Game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals series.

“Andyan na eh… andito na yung trophy. Kailangan na lang namin i-grab,” said Fajardo, the 6-foot-10 center who on his second season in the PBA was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP).

SMB moved a win away from clinching the all-Filipino championship after the Beermen won Game 5, 93-88, of the best-of-seven title showdown Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fajardo played a big role in that triumph as he finally showed why he won his second straight Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference (BPC) – beating his teammate Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot, and Alaska’s controversial forward Calvin Abueva.

Averaging just 12 points in the first four games of the finals series, the mild-mannered Fajardo finished with 19 points shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 9-of-13 from the foul line to go with 13 rebounds and five blocked shots in Game 5.

Santos, the 2013 MVP, also had a solid game as he collected 19 points and five swats, with nine boards.

“Hopefully sa Sunday, maka-adjust kami. Yung mga mali namin ngayon, makita namin at maayos namin. Sana next game, mas maganda pa ang laruin namin,” added Fajardo, the top pick in the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft.

Santos said a balanced contribution is key to again win in Game 6 to end SMB’s championship drought in an all-Filipino conference.

The last time the Beermen won the Philippine Cup was in 2000.

“Kaya namin nakuha yung panalo, bukod sa depensa namin, kasi lahat nagcontribute. Mahirap talunin ang isang team pag lahat nagtutulungan,” Santos said. “Ibola na natin, konting kalog na lang, bibinggo na yan.”

As for Abueva, he’s still confident that the Aces can send the series to a do-or-die Game 7.

“Babawi kami,” said Abueva. “Nagkulang yung opensa namin. Kung pumutok sila (teammates), sigurado, tatalunin namin yun. We’ll just go hard,” said Abueva.