Fernandez believes Fajardo should improve defense

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2022 10:30 PM

For the first time since 1989, the Philippines did not win the basketball gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games. PSC/POC Pool Photo.
For the first time since 1989, the Philippines did not win the basketball gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games. PSC/POC Pool Photo.

PBA legend Mon Fernandez has apparently given Junemar Fajardo a tip regarding his defense during the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Indonesia in the gold medal match of the SEA Games men's basketball tournament.

Fernandez was seen approaching the younger PBA star at the bench during the game, dispensing a tip on defense.

"I noticed Junemar medyo kailangan pang i-improve sa defense sa inside," said Fernandez, the country's Chef de Mission in the Games in Vietnam, when asked by Quinito Henson and Dyan Castillejo in PlayitRightTV.

"Napapansin ko 'pag meron kasing point guard or guard na naiwanan 'yung defender niya at magle-layup, si June Mar lalapit lang at sa baba lang niya will try and stop him.”

Fernandez felt that Fajardo would have a better chance of defending if he stays on guard near the ring.

"I was just telling him at soon as the player lays up, just jump up high there and doon mo i-block sa gilid ng ring," said the Philippine Sports Commissioner, who is considered one of the very best ever to play in Philippine basketball.

"He's already 6-10, so titingkayad lang siya mabablock na niya."

Unfortunately, Fajardo didn't get the opportunity to stop the Indonesian guard again. 

Gilas lost to Indonesia and settled for silver. It was the first time that the Philippines fail to win a gold in SEA Games basketball since 1989.

Fernandez feels Fajardo should also be given post-up plays that could have given Indonesia more problems.

"Dapat bigyan pa ng play si Fajardo sa baba. I-post-up siya. Kayang kaya niya ang dimidepensa sa kanya eh, kung ginawa ng ginawa at nagpost up siya, baka nagfoul out pa yung naturalized player (ng Indonesia), with so many minutes left in the game pa," he said.

Fernandez said the loss should serve as a lesson to Philippine basketball, citing the improvements made by its Southeast Asian neighbors.

"It's a lesson for us na really hindi na natin sila pwedeng maliitin especially Indonesia and Thailand. They have improved tremendously, I've seen both games they really have improved," he said.

"May mga players na rin silang naglalaro sa America, so dapat talaga the best possible lineup we should send."