MANILA, Philippines – Returning June Mar Fajardo got the better of his former mentor Danny Ildefonso when he led Petron Blaze to a 96-87 win against Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday.
Fajardo, who recuperated from a sprained medial collateral ligament, had 19 points while battling Ildefonso down the post.
It was an important victory for the Boosters, said coach Gee Abanilla, who was seeking a morale boost for Petron after the team encountered several setbacks.
“It’s a good way to bounce back after a loss, and coming into the quarterfinals, we want to have to some sort of momentum, some sort of positive attitude,” he said in the PBA website.
Ildefonso, who tutored Fajardo while he was still with Petron, was able to score several times against his former student. But Fajardo was able to get back at the former MVP by using the same tricks he learned from Ildefonso, particularly the spin move layup.
“Siya nagturo sa akin nun eh,” said Fajardo. “Alam ko na gagawin niya yung mga moves pero naka-counter n’ya kasi dinadaan nya sa experience. Yung mga tinuro nya sa akin, ‘yun din yung ginagawa ko.”
He added that he was pleased to play against Ildefonso.
“Privilege ko lang din na makakaro sya,” said Fajardo, who also had 15 rebounds.
Ildefonso, who finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks, said he was pleased with the improvement of the Cebuano center. He said that with the size and skills, Fajardo will be a tough player to go up against.
“Marami na kong nabantayang malaking import at malaking Pilipino, pero si June Mar ang pinakamabigat, at may skills pa,” said Ildefonso.
Chris Ross scored 18 points against Meralco, while Arwind Santos added 17. Alex Cabagnot and Chris Lutz added 14 points and 12.
Gary David again paced Meralco with 18 points. Jared Dillinger had 16 points, while John Wilson and Cliff Hodge combined for 26.
Petron Blaze 96 – Fajardo 19, Ross 18, Santos 17, Cabagnot 14, Lutz 12, Kramer 6, Duncil 4, Tubid 2, Taha 2, Lanete 2.
Meralco 87 – David 18, Ildefonso 17, Dillinger 16, Wilson 13, Hodge 13, Allado 5, Hugnatan 3, Artadi 2, Timberlake 0, Salvacion 0, Al-Hussaini 0.
Quarterscores: 15-15, 44-33, 70-56, 96-87.