MANILA, Philippines – After experiencing a loss in the PBA finals for the first time since 2013, San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo just wants a bit of a break.
For the first time since Leo Austria took over the Beermen lost a championship series, bowing to sister team Ginebra in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals. They lost in six games, even with Fajardo averaging 21.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in the series.
"Siyempre nakakalungkot kasi talo kami sa championship eh, talo kami sa finals. 'Di mo naman maipapanalo ang lahat pero andun 'yung chances eh. Sayang," said Fajardo, who had 29 points and 15 rebounds in their 93-77 loss in Game 6.
The last time that Fajardo lost in the finals, it was in the 2013 PBA Governors' Cup. San Miguel was still playing under the Petron banner, and they lost to the San Mig Coffee Mixers – which, incidentally, was coached by Tim Cone at the time.
Since then, they had been triumphant in every finals series they played in. They have won six championships under Austria's guidance, four of which came in the All-Filipino Cup.
That perfect run was shattered by Ginebra on Wednesday night.
"Siyempre ilang championship din kami. Six out of six. Ngayon natalo kami. Wala namang gustong matalo sa championship pero nangyari na eh. Panalo sila. I-congratulate natin sila," said Fajardo. " Ginawa din naman nila yung best nila."
Fajardo said he is proud of how they played, even though his teammates struggled in Game 6. "Nag-mintis lang talaga kami ng marami, may mga lapses din kami," he said. "Part din ng game 'yun."
Now, with the pain of the loss still fresh in his mind, Fajardo just wants some time to rest.
"Sa ngayon, gusto ko munang magpahinga," said the big man, who averaged 33.5 minutes per game in the Finals. "Gusto ko munang mag-recover."
"Hindi ko muna iisipin 'yung next conference. Kailangan muna naming mag-pahinga. Saka na namin iisipin 'yung next conference after ng bakasyon namin," he added.
Make no mistake, however: Fajardo is determined to bounce back in the Governors' Cup.
"Lesson learned ito na natalo kami," he said. "Bounce back na lang kami next conference. Masakit. Ine-expect namin na mag-champion kami."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.