No Fajardo needed as San Miguel’s second unit gets job done
June Mar Fajardo has always been the first to share the credit to his teammates, admitting San Miguel won’t be as successful without its supporting crew.
That rang true in the Beermen’s 117-87 Game 3 victory on Sunday, as the bench helped spark the demolition that put the pesky Hotshots away all while the four-time PBA MVP rested to start the fourth quarter.
The trio of Brian Heruela, Gabby Espinas, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser partnered with starters Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter in the Beermen’s 17-3 pullaway that gave them a commanding 92-71 advantage late in the game.
“The second group really stepped up and that allowed us in the first group to rest,” said head coach Leo Austria, who has often been criticized for putting his starters through heavy minutes.
The multi-tilted coach has always been challenged the guys off the bench to match the energy of the team’s potent starting five, and this time, the second unit delivered.
“More or less, they already know their roles. We keep on telling the second unit to step up because it’s already given what our first group will bring. So they really have to match that of they want to play,” the mentor said.
Heruela fired 11 points and two rebounds, Espinas poured nine markers, two boards, and two dimes, and Ganuelas-Rosser did his part on the defensive end as San Miguel garnered 33 points from its bench.
Fajardo’s services were also no longer needed in the payoff period, finishing the game with 21 points and 17 rebounds and he saw that as a good sign.
“I hope that’s always be the case,” he said. “We’re consistent with our energy and we’re playing good defense. Magnolia was playing us with physical defense, but we’re composed and we were able to sustain our play.”
With San Miguel once again proving why it is the barometer in the all-Filipino conference, Fajardo is hoping to see the team sustain this form as they move closer to their goal.
“I hope we’ll be focused again and not be complacent in our next game because I’m sure, our opponents will really give their best to get the win,” he said. “We want to win a championship, so we have to play the way we did tonight.”
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