Ever since the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup, many have been wanting to see another duel between the league’s towering bigs, Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo. And on Sunday night, the people’s fantasies were fulfilled.
The two Cebuano centers have finally clashed after over a year. And as the buzzer sounded, Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen reigned triumphant over Slaughter and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 107-103, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
That defeat was tough to fathom for the Gin Kings, as it ended their seven-game winning streak. With that said, the seven-foot Slaughter did not have anything to say about his match-up with three-time Most Valuable Player.
“I wouldn’t really think about individual match-ups because we got down pretty big,” said Slaughter.
“San Miguel’s a pretty complete team and coming into this game, I was saying it’s not about the individual match-ups. It’s team-on-team.”
Looking at the match itself, the Barangay actually had chances to come back from a deep 26-point hole as they got within eight, 101-93, late in the game. Unfortunately, Alex Cabagnot and SMB just had more tricks down the stretch.
“That’s our calling card, never say die,” said the 29-year-old, who scattered 16 points and seven rebounds. “We played all the way to the last buzzer, and just didn’t have enough time to make that comeback tonight.
“But I know we’ll probably see them again — maybe in the playoffs — so it’s just some game we have to learn from.”
Asked if the grueling schedule had affected them, as Sunday’s bout versus San Miguel was their second game in three days, the Cleveland, Ohio-born slotman did not want to use that as an excuse.
“We can’t make any excuse because when it comes time for the playoffs, we’re going to have a schedule just like that — we play Friday and then we play Sunday,” he said.
“So no excuses, they just came out more prepared than us tonight.”