ANTIPOLO—Barangay Ginebra may have a commanding lead in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals duel against San Miguel but coach Tim Cone admitted that the complexion of the series would be “a lot different” with a healthy June Mar Fajardo.
Fajardo, who has missed the Beermen’s last five games, has been ruled out of the semis series due to an MCL injury he suffered during the East Asia Super League Champions Week in Japan earlier this month.
“It’ll be a lot different of a series if June Mar was playing, let me tell you. June Mar’s absence is really huge in this series,” Cone said.
“It would be interesting to see them in full complement with them and him against us with Japeth (Aguilar) and LA (Tenorio). We’re playing a short rotation, basically, because both are not there and it changes our game a bit.”
The Gin Kings have dominated the series so far, taking Friday’s opener, 121-112, in a game where they led by as many as 21 before cruising to a 121-103 win in Game 2 on Sunday.
Like San Miguel, Ginebra is also playing shorthanded with forward Japeth Aguilar nursing a knee injury and guard LA Tenorio sidelined due to his battle with cancer.
“June Mar is such a huge part of what they do and what they’ve done historically. His absence is obviously a huge factor in this whole thing. It allows us to put our focus on other players rather than have it on June Mar all the time,” Cone said.
Fajardo, the six-time PBA MVP, averaged 14.3 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game before the injury.
Import Cameron Clarke and CJ Perez have carried much of the burden in the absence of Fajardo.
Despite nearing a sweep and a finals return, Ginebra still has no room for complacency especially against an experienced San Miguel side.
“You start looking for lead[s] then you’re opening yourself up for being ‘kampante.’ If you do that against a team like this, you’re in big trouble,” the veteran tactician said.
“We got one game to play, that’s all we’re thinking about. The old one game at a time [mentality],” he added.