Make no mistake about it, Phoenix-San Miguel Beer was a highly physical series in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo, the league’s reigning five-time MVP, received the most punishment.
Facing constanst double-teams, bumps, bruises, and pretty much everything in between, Phoenix greatly tested June Mar’s physical strength and actual patience.
Not once did Fajardo engage even when the going got too tough. The MVP remained cool and calm and collected.
He was tested sure, but Fajardo kept his composure all the way.
“Isa to sa mga series na nasubukan yung pasensya ko,” June Mar said.
“Pero okay lang yun, part yun ng game na pisikalan kami. Dahil sa ka-physical nila siguro medyo nawala ‘yung game nila. ‘Yun din naman ang gusto namin na pisikalin nila kami, mawala sila sa game nila. Good thing na end ‘yung series and kami ang pumasok sa Finals,” he added.
The face of Phoenix’s physical brand of play is Calvin Abueva without a doubt.
And while outside eyes may put the Kraken and the Beast against each other, which is natural, Fajardo says that he and his worthy rival are good.
“Wala kaming problema ni Calvin, mataas yung respeto ko sa kanya. Magkasabay kami sa draft, ilang years na kaming magkalaban so alam ko ‘yung laro niya. Ganoon talaga ang laro niya sa loob ng court, mapang-asar.” Fajardo said of Abueva.
“Pero paglabas naman ng court sobrang close kami, ilang years kaming magkasama sa Gilas, alam ko yung attitude niya so sobrang taas ng respeto ko sa kanya so walang homo. Joke lang ‘yun, masyado kayong seryoso eh, masyado tayong pressured dapat mag smile tayo,” he added.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8