San Miguel Beermen’s behemoth JuneMar Fajardo has become the focal point of Rain or Shine’s move to improve on its size.
RoS coach Yeng Guiao made the revelation in the aftermath of their 104-89 rout of Talk N’ Text in the knockout quarterfinals of the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup on Monday that sent the Elasto Painters in the semifinals against Fajardo and the Beermen.
San Miguel enjoys a 6-1 advantage against RoS in their head-to-head last season, certainly not encouraging numbers for a team who considers Fajado an enigma.
“That has become a motivation for us. Actually kaya kami nag-revamp ng lineup hindi kasi namin matalo-talo yung San Miguel,” Guiao admitted. “We wanted to be bigger. We know we can’t find anybody bigger than Fajardo so nag-palaki na lang kami as a team.”
The Elasto Painters lost TY Tang, who went into retirement after last season and traded guard Ryan Araña and center-forward Jervy Cruz during the off-season. Guiao called them a “great loss” but the team has to make some sacrifices to improve and stay competitive.
So far, the team’s new acquisitions – Maverick Ahanmisi, Don Trollano and Jewel Ponferrada – have blended well with the team according to Guiao, who took notice of Ahanmisi as “finding his proper role with the team.”
“All around nag-palaki kami. I’m hoping yung size differential is not going to be that much of a problem especially if we can keep our running game going,” Guiao said.
The fiery RoS coach believes taking the long route instead of making the semis outright has toughened up his chargers for the next phase against the Beermen. Still, he said the Elasto Painters will have their hands full in the best of seven series with Fajardo in their way.
“It will be tough especially with the new rules. Hindi mo pwedeng itulak or banggain, so ang laking advantage talaga ng meron kang Fajardo or (Greg) Slaugther,” Guiao observed.
RoS, making its eighth consecutive trip to the Final Four (a record among active teams in the league) and San Miguel start their series on Jan. 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.