Following the indefinite exit of June Mar Fajardo due to injury, San Miguel Beer has been frantic in trying to fill the huge void his absence will create, with only about three weeks to go before the opening of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
“Mababago ngayon lahat ang game plan namin,” said SMB coach Leo Austria yesterday.
Stressing Fajardo’s absence will be a big loss in the team, Austria said they need to work double-time in their preparation and polish the adjustments they have been testing in practice.
“We have to find ways kung paano gumawa ng panibagong game plan because we believe we’re still competitive,” said Austria.
“Kailangan in the short period of time ay makita na namin agad ang dapat na namin gawin,” said Austria.
So far, Austria said, he saw the team doing pretty well during practice in the last couple of days.
“The last two days, we changed a lot in our preparation para sa All Filipino, although it’s difficult because June Mar is June Mar,” said Austria.
“But right now we’re trying to adjust na maglaro ng wala si June Mar. Sa last two days naman ng practice namin, medyo nag step up naman lahat.”
Austria said the Beermen’s play normally used to start from the 6’10” center. They will have to make do with what’s achievable now that Fajardo is out indefinitely.
“Sa play, I would say it’s hard to stop him (June Mar). Kasi sa kanya nagsisimnula play namin. So may malaking pagbabago talaga sa mga plays namin,” said Austria, who plans to give all the minutes usually allotted to Fajardo to Mo Tautuaa.
“I’m sure Mo Tautuaa will step up. I think nawalan lang ng kaunting size but in terms of agility, magkakaroon pa rin naman ng malaking laban,” said Austria.”
The Beermen are gunning for an unprecedented sixth straight title in the Philippine Cup, the crown jewel in a PBA season and the hardest to win among the three conferences.
Fajardo injured his right leg during the team’s practice last February 3. As a result, he has been ruled out of the All-Filipino Conference indefinitely.
“Baka yung exectations sa atin sa Philippine Cup mawala na,” said Austria in jest.