by Ernest Hernandez
The San Miguel Beermen have been reaping the benefits of having June Mar Fajardo who they drafted in 2012. Against TnT KaTropa, “The Kraken” faces someone unusually bigger than him in 6-foot-10, 300-pound import Joshua Smith.
The three-time PBA MVP will be matched up against Smith in the 2017 PBA Commissioners Cup Finals in what looms to be a new challenge for the big man from Cebu City after dealing with Star Hotshot import Ricardo Ratliffe.
“Kailangan ko i-handa sarili ko kasi kakatapos lang namin ni(Ricardo) Ratliffe,” said Fajardo. “Yung kay Ricardo nga lang bugbog na ako. Pagdating ko sa bahay, hindi na ko nagpapalit ng damit at kinabukasan na ako nagpapalit kasi sobrang pagod. Pag-akyat ko pa lang sa hagdanan…sobrang nakakapagod kalaban si Ratliffe.”
Fajardo is set to face TnT’s hulking import Smith tomorrow and the SMB center knows he would need help from his teammates – especially Charles Rhodes.
“Malaki siya and maganda mga moves niya. Lahat naman ng mga imports ngayon magagaling pero hindi naman yan one-on-one. Nag-pro-provide naman ng help mga coaches at teammates ko. Gagawin ko lahat para ma-minimize yung touches and points niya,” said Fajardo.
Smith has been a dominant force in the paint, averaging 20.8 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 assists in 25 minutes the past five games. This is despite him nursing an injury hampering him in TnT’s last two games.
“Ngayon pa na sobrang laki ni Joshua (Smith). Kailangan ko lang magpa-kondisyon. Kailangan ko lang ihanda katawan ko sa bangaan pero meron naman import na tutulong sa akin.”
Smith is listed day-to-day by TnT KaTropa because of his foot injury. He, however, stated that he will be available for the first game of the PBA Finals which kicks off tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
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