San Miguel Beer behemoth June Mar Fajardo is tipped to claim the Best Player of the Conference honors and lead the Beermen in a bid to move on the brink of their desired destination in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup.
Fajardo and his teammates try to establish full control even as the TNT Tropang Giga are likely to draw inspiration on the return of coach Chot Reyes in Game 4 of the best-of-seven title playoff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Game time is at 6:03 p.m. right after the brief ceremony to announce the winner of the coveted BPC plum.
Fajardo, the stats derby leader, further enhanced his drive with a monstrous 27-point and 27-rebound performance, leading the Beermen to a 108-100 overtime win Friday to seize command in the series at 2-1.
And the 6-foot-10 Cebuano giant later expressed his great desire to sustain their romp towards a return to the throne after a dry spell in the last two seasons.
“Gustong gusto namin mag-champion uli,” said Fajardo, realistic though that they have to work hard versus the titleholder.
The Tropang Giga are not about to give up. They’re likely to get boost on the return of their head coach from his trip to Beirut, Lebanon with Gilas Pilipinas.
“We’re down 1-2, but we’ve got coach Chot coming back, and it’s going to be a big boost for us,” said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga, who took the helm for TNT in the last two games.
“We had our chances, we had our opportunity, sayang lang hindi kami nanalo,” Arespacochaga also said.
The Tropa had a chance to win the game in regulation but Jayson Castro missed a tough jumper at the buzzer facing the tough defense of Jericho Cruz.
SMB third-string gunner Rob Herndon played clutch in overtime with Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez out on fouls. With that, he’s expected to be in the rotation as the Beermen go for the 3-1 lead.
Game 3 was a hard-fought match that saw 13 deadlocks and 15 lead changes all throughout.
San Miguel threatened to break the game open twice in the first half but each time, TNT pulled back to manageable levels. (SB/PBA.PH)