PBA: Meralco showing–not San Miguel rust–led to Game 1 loss

Meralco showing–not San Miguel rust–led to Game 1 loss, says June Mar

/ 12:42 AM June 06, 2024

SCHEDULE: PBA Finals San Miguel vs Meralco

San Migiuel Beermen's June Mar Fajardo during Game 1 of the PBA Philippine CUp Finals against Meralco Bolts

San Migiuel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo during Game 1 of the PBA Philippine CUp Finals against Meralco Bolts. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—June Mar Fajardo knows for just it was rust that cost them Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the hands of Meralco.

It was the Bolts’ jolting first half start that took the Beermen by surprise.

After San Miguel’s 93-86 loss to Meralco at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Fajardo credited the Bolts’ performance in the opening parts of the game, which they had kept up until the end.

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“Meralco just had a really good start,” said Fajardo in Filipino after finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“Credits to them. Tomorrow we’ll have practice, we’ll watch the videos and we’ll bounce back.”

Before Fajardo finished with another performance that pushed him even closer to the tournament’s Best Player of the Conference award, he had quite a difficult time in the paint with Raymond Almazan and Brandon Bates hovering over him.

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READ: PBA Finals favorite San Miguel wary of rust vs title-hungry Meralco

Despite San Miguel holding a 51-44 lead at the intermission, Meralco still shocked the Beermen with its ability to stay at bay all thanks to its lockdown defense.

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“They had good defense. We also had a lot of turnovers, that’s what coach (Jorge Gallent) pointed out. They shot a lot of threes as well. Cliff had a lot of offensive rebounds.”

Hodge was a beast in the paint, outdoing Fajardo in the rebounding department with 15 huge boards with seven points to match.

It also didn’t help San Miguel’s cause that explosive guard Chris Newsome had his fingerprints all over the ball with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Chris Banchero was also everywhere with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

While the loss of the Beermen was painful, Fajardo kept a positive motive ahead of Game 2.

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“We’ll just bounce back. [It’s a] long series.”

TAGS: June Mar Fajardo, Meralco Bolts, PBA Finals, PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beermen

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