PBA Finals: Unable to stop June Mar, Meralco still finds way to win

Meralco Bolts' Raymond Almazan and San Miguel Beermen's June Mar Fajardo PBA FInals

Meralco Bolts’ Raymond Almazan and San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—A win’s a win, no matter the cost.

In the case of Meralco in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, the Bolts won 92-88, to take the commanding 3-2 lead despite allowing Beermen star June Mar Fajardo to go off for 38 points and 18 rebounds.

Raymond Almazan wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

READ: PBA Finals: Meralco needs to ‘play with poise’ to close out San Miguel

“If you’ll ask me, I’ll trade that [performance] for a win,” said Almazan in Filipino at Araneta Coliseum on Friday. “He can even score 60 as long as we win.”

Almazan dropped 14 points and four rebounds in the crucial game but he got the last laugh over Fajardo who had a better shooting night.

While Almazan didn’t have the most dynamic night on offense, it was his defense that helped Meralco move to the cusp of making history.

And it wasn’t just Almazan, too, who had a hand in tiring out the Best Player of the Conference awardee.

READ: PBA Finals: June Mar Fajardo confident San Miguel will bounce back

The Bolts seemingly found the fix to San Miguel’s puzzle and one of the things they found effective was to put multiple bigs on Fajardo, including Almazan.

“What coach (Luigi Trillo) tells us is, if he scores, we run. If we foul and foul, he’s going to get some rest and we wouldn’t be able to run,” explained the lanky center.

Make no mistakes about it, though. It wasn’t easy to contain the seven-time MVP no matter how many bodies you put on him.

“June Mar’s heavy, he’s what, 260? Meanwhile, I’m at 220 but still trying my best to stop or at least limit him,” Almazan said.

“It’s hard to stop him a lot. On his off night, he had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Off night pa ‘yon ah?”