by Ernest Hernandez
The San Miguel Beermen fell to TnT KaTropa in Game 1 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, courtesy of that crucial game-winner from Joshua “Jumbotron” Smith. But even before that, Smith was already causing problems for the Beermen throughout the game.
“We came short because of the last shot of Smith,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
“Next time we have to contain Smith because he is the problem with our defense. Napapaligiran siya ng mga perimeter shooters and we hope to contain him next game.”
The man assigned the Herculean task to contain Smith, is June Mar “The Kraken” Fajardo, probably the only best player in the PBA who can do so. The SMB center admits that Smith is probably the heaviest player that he has faced, not just in the PBA but also in international competitions.
“Sobrang bigat niya,” said the three-time MVP. “Malaki siya at mabigat siya. ‘Tsaka yung motion niya… magaling din.”
Knowing their flaws, Fajardo hopes to get some help in defending Smith in game 2 tomorrow.
“Siguro, magpro-provide ng help. Kung ano sabihin ni coach, ‘yun ang gagawin naming,” said Fajardo.
KaTropa relied on its speed for most parts of the game but it was the unusual slowdown setup plays for Smith that threw the Beermen off.
“Expected na iyon kasi nandyan si Joshua,” Fajardo said. “Syempre hantayin nila iyon, kasi iyon yung strength nila sa loob, sa opensa.”
But even with Smith outplaying Fajardo, it was the stinging defense of TnT that deserved credit, forcing SMB to 24 turnovers.
“Siguro maganda din depensa ng TnT, kailangan din talaga naming mag-adjust,” said Fajardo.
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