Fajardo flaunts passing skills in SMB’s win over Rain or Shine

June Mar Fajardo’s passing wizardry was on full display against Rain or Shine (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

PBA’s six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo is showing everybody his continuing progress despite all of the accolades he achieved in the Philippine basketball scene.

Locked down against the tight interior defense of the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, the multi-champion superstar big man turned into a point-center and displayed his best passing game in the PBA after tallying a career-high seven assists on top of 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Fajardo’s excellent defensive reads and dimes led to another San Miguel Beermen win, 99-93, and is now at the top of the PBA Philippine Cup standings with a 5-1 win-loss record.

It was a rough game for Fajardo as the trio of Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferrada, and Norbert Torres provided solid interior defense and were quick in signaling help for a double team to avoid easy deuces from the Cebuano giant.

After struggling from the field in the first half, Fajardo knew it was time to take over in a different facet of the game and his court vision rose to the occasion.

Every time Rain or Shine doubled him, Fajardo was quick to send the ball to the open spot and fed his wide-open teammates who paid off the big man’s dimes.

Fajardo’s passing also led to a San Miguel fiery offensive run after Rain or Shine regained the lead, 61-62, in the fifth-minute mark of the third canto.

With the game turning into a dogfight in the last three minutes of the game, Fajardo recorded three crucial assists that helped answer every Rain or Shine basket and avoided a meltdown.

Fajardo’s first gorgeous assist was to the cutting Jericho Cruz for an easy deuce, a pocket dime to Rodney Brondial in the second minute mark, and the game-sealing assist to Cruz in the 35th second of the game that extended their lead to seven, 97-90.

San Miguel’s high-octane offense proved to be too much for the Elastopainters as CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, Simon Enciso, Brondial, Cruz, and Fajardo all scored in double figures.

Meanwhile, this is the second time where Rain or Shine wasn’t able to sustain their lead and keep the momentum and are now at the bottom of the standings with a 1-5 record.