MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo was all praises for TNT's Jayson Castro, after the guard was named the Best Player of the Conference for the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday evening.
Castro, who helped TNT claim the No. 1 seed and reach the finals, won with a total of 1,077 points after compiling statistics, media votes, player votes, and the PBA Office's votes. Fajardo finished second, with 762 points.
Still, Fajardo and the Beermen gave themselves a reason to celebrate on Sunday, as they fended off the KaTropa, 106-101, in Game 4 of the best-of-7 finals to tie the series at 2-2.
Afterward, Fajardo maintained that he was not concerned about losing out on the BPC award – which would have been his 9th.
"Ah wala (sa isip ko 'yun)," he said. "Deserving si Jayson, kasi ang ganda ng nilaro niya throughout this conference, so deserve siya na makakuha noon."
"So, ayun, congrats kay Jayson saka sa import, Best Import," he added.
TNT's Terrence Jones won the Best Import award, ahead of Ginebra's Justin Brownlee and San Miguel's Chris McCullough.
The award was Castro's fifth, tying him with San Miguel icon Danny Ildefonso for second most all-time. Fajardo, of course, already has 8 BPC trophies, having won the award for the past 6 iterations of the Philippine Cup. He also won the award in the 2016 Governors' Cup, and the 2018 Commissioner's Cup.
As San Miguel coach Leo Austria said, "Marami ka na naman noon eh 'di ba? Kailangan i-share natin."
More than the BPC, Fajardo was concerned with San Miguel's performance in the finals against TNT. They were able to equalize the finals series once more on Sunday night, but not before nearly squandering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
A clutch bucket by Fajardo with 27 seconds left helped secure the win for San Miguel. He finished with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting in the game.
"'Di madali para sa amin 'yung series na 'to. Finals eh, hindi mo naman ine-expect na madaling game, so every game talaga, kailangan mo talagang kunin sa kanila 'yun eh," said Fajardo. "Kung sino 'yung gusto manalo, siya 'yung mananalo."
"So, pareho kami pagod, pagod din kami, pagod din sila. Then, ayun, nagpe-pray kami na manalo din, of course sila nagpe-pray din manalo. So nasa kung sino lang talaga gusto manalo, 'yung determined manalo," he added.
The pivotal Game 5 is on Wednesday, still at the Araneta Coliseum.
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