PBA: Classy San Miguel core looking forward to next challenge

PBA: Classy San Miguel core looking forward to next challenge

/ 04:25 AM June 18, 2024

San Miguel Beermen reacts after losing the PBA Philippine Cup Finals to Meralco Bolts

San Miguel Beermen reacts after a play during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals to Meralco Bolts. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

San Miguel Beer cornerstone June Mar Fajardo spoke with a lot of class in giving credit where credit was truly due on Sunday night.

And so did two others who have been parts of the Beermen’s fearsome team that ruled the PBA Philippine Cup with a veritable iron hand for most of the last decade.

“It’s a pity since we really feel we could win the championship—that we can win this series. But that’s sports for you. We have to take this loss,” he told reporters in Filipino shortly after an electric 80-78 Game 6 loss to Meralco at the Big Dome that crowned the opposing Bolts as the new all-Filipino champions.


READ: June Mar Fajardo: It’s Meralco’s time to win PBA title

“Maybe this is really Meralco’s [time] to become a champion. Let’s applaud those who need applause, and congratulate those who need congratulations. It hurts that we lost, but that’s life. We’ve won several championships before, right? Maybe it’s just Meralco’s turn now.”

Fajardo pointed out that some moments on Sunday night felt like the game was truly meant for the Bolts to take: “How the ball bounced towards them? Perhaps they were destined to claim this championship. Let’s congratulate Meralco because they played a fine game.”

San Miguel stared at holes as big as 17 points in the first half, then managed to forge a deadlock four minutes into the second half. The Beermen played a tighter game in the third period and even managed to tie the game on Fajardo’s tough triple with three ticks left until Chris Newsome put the series to bed with his signature fallaway jumper.


READ: PBA Finals loss fuels CJ Perez to get better

“The better team won,” San Miguel captain Chris Ross said in a separate chat. “[Meralco was] a well-oiled machine, man. It has been fun, man. Each game went down to the wire. There were no blowouts. So let’s give credit to them.


“Even in games where they felt they should’ve won, they came back like nothing happened, and that takes mental toughness,” he added.

Pretournament favorite

San Miguel was expected to extend its dominance in the tournament following an elimination round campaign where they only suffered one loss. Ironically, that defeat came at the hands of the Bolts.

Marcio Lassiter, the Game 2 hero and another one of San Miguel’s battle-hardened veterans, was just as appreciative of their conquerors.

“They deserve it, and at the end of the day, you just can’t win them all,” he said. “But you know, I’m proud of our players. We went to war and that’s what you expect—we give our all.”

Fajardo, Ross and Lassiter account for over a third of San Miguel’s 29 titles in the PBA. They were shooting for their 11th in this finale against a Meralco side that was playing in its first-ever All-Filipino title series.

With that bid over, the trio is now looking forward to the next chance.

“Whenever we lose a conference, it feels like we fell short of our major goal. Sometimes it happens, you can’t win all the time. Sometimes it’s just a test of character how you bounce back when you don’t meet your goal,” said Ross.

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“I’m excited for what’s in store for us, going forward. Hopefully we could make the adjustments and get back on the winning track.” INQ

TAGS: PBA, Sports

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