PBA: Brandon Bates readies for match with June Mar Fajardo

PBA: Brandon Bates readies for match with June Mar Fajardo

/ 04:25 AM June 03, 2024

Brandon Bates (in white) battles another established Ginebra big man in Japeth Aguilar. —PBA IMAGES

Brandon Bates (in white) battles another established Ginebra big man in Japeth Aguilar. —PBA IMAGES

Rookie Brandon Bates was front and center of Meralco’s PBA Philippine Cup semifinal triumph that had the Bolts finally cracking the Barangay Ginebra puzzle in a best-of-seven series.

The 27-year-old big man helped limit the crowd darlings’ Christian Standhardinger for a second straight meeting, highlighting that with six points, a team-best 13 rebounds and an eye-popping six blocks for a performance to remember.

Selected eighth overall in the last Rookie Draft, the 6-foot-9 Bates wore the smile of a giddy kid after having run through an obstacle that was Standhardinger—a tireless, high-motor and high-IQ forward who was the Best Player the last conference.


SCHEDULE: PBA Philippine Cup Finals San Miguel vs Meralco

As soon as he was told about his next assignment, however, the Filipino-Aussie scrunched his face.

“One big guy to the next. God, my body is sore,” he said with a nervous chuckle as he was told of taking on San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo.

“Tribulation again. But this is what you wish [for],” Bates went on as his face switched into that determined look he had all of Friday night at FPJ Arena in San Jose, Batangas City.


[T]his is what you want when you play—go against the best … I’m looking forward to it.”

READ: Meralco bigs draw out June Mar Fajardo nerves


Chris Newsome, who has spent all of his years in the PBA trying to help deliver the Bolts’ first crown, heaped praises on his young big man who has also become a source of excitement for the franchise.

“For a rookie to come out and get 13 rebounds and six blocks, man that says a lot about him and what he’s capable of doing. It’s a blessing to have him on the team,” Newsome said. “I know he’s excited.

He’s a great kid who has a great attitude, always asking questions, always vocal. It’s great to see young guys come in with that type of attitude.”

Big task

But like Bates, Newsome knows what kind of mountain they will have to scale just to overcome a squad like San Miguel.

“Christian was definitely a handful … [N]ow, we get to move over to the GOAT (greatest of all time)—my teammate at Gilas. ‘Abai,’” Newsome said, referring to Fajardo. “I know he’s playing Dota right now. But, aside from going up against him, they have CJ (Perez) as well.

And a lot of the San Miguel guys are real winners.

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“Those guys have been winning for years And now it’s time for us to see if we can keep up with them, give them a good run, and see if we can still make a run for our first championship,” Newsome added. INQ

TAGS: PBA, Sports

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