Defending champion San Miguel Beer and perennial finalist Alaska will go for all the marbles when they meet in Game 7 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday.
With the series tied at 3-3, both squads will let it all hang out on the court to decide who will take home this year's All-Filipino crown.
The Aces opened the race-to-four series with three straight victories over the Beermen, who struggled without their prized center June Mar Fajardo.
Then something happened with San Miguel in Game 4, wherein despite Fajardo’s absence, the team managed to put down Alaska. The Beermen ever grew bolder with the return of the Cebuano big man in Games 5 and 6, enabling them to equalize and force the Aces to a winner-take-all Game 7.
Now that they have reached the distance, Fajado promised to go all out and help San Miguel achieve history by closing out Alaska and clinch the distinction of becoming the first team in PBA history to comeback from a 0-3 series deficit.
“Sa first three games sa Finals, sobrang na-frustrate ako kasi pinaghirapan namin sa offseason at goal naman talaga makaabot ng Finals. Pagdating sa Finals, na-injure ako,” he said in PBA.ph, while he recalled his anguish after hurting his knee in the semifinals.
(READ: Austria believes Fajardo’s injury only made SMB stronger)
“Talagang nakaka-frustrate kasi wala akong maitulong sa teammates ko kundi ipagdasal sila. Nasa harap lang ako ng TV, gigil ako. Iniisip ko sana nasa loob din ako ng court.”
Fajardo said he was glad to return to action and get the opportunity to help his teammates.
“Last game na yung Game 7. Lahat ng players, lahat ng teams, pinangarap makalaro sa finals,” he said. “Kami, opportunity namin manalo sa Game 7. Kailangan ready kami pagdating ng Wednesday.”
But Vic Manuel, who has made his mark for Alaska in Games 1 to 3, said they will overcome San Miguel because it is simply the Aces’ time.
Manuel said they already had enough of the Beermen after being beaten by the same team in the previous two conferences.
“Tama na,” the brawny forward Manuel said in a separate PBA.ph report. “Third time na namin nagharap. Iniisip namin na itong all-Filipino, para sa amin talaga. Hindi na pwedeng mapunta pa sa kanila. Hindi na namin pwedeng pakawalan pa.”
He admitted that the Beermen were already tough to beat without Fajardo.
“Pero ngayon bigla siyang bumalik kaya lalo kaming nahirapan. Talagang pinaghandaan namin sila ngayon. May mga adjustment kaming gagawin para sa Game 7 sa Wednesday,” added Manuel.
“Kung makukuha pa nila ito, talagang nakakapanghinayang kasi hindi man lang kami maka-isa. Kailangan kami naman ngayon. Paghahandaan na lang namin sila sa Game 7.”
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