It’s not everyday that you see two big players – Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra and June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, in particular – clash in the hardcourt.
So when both these PBA “giants” collide for the first time in an official professional basketball game, expect the Philsports Arena to be jampacked.
For one, their much-awaited hardcourt match had two botched attempts early this season. Here’s why…
I vividly remembered the face of Fajardo, the 6-10 Beerman, who sprained his MCL on his knee, just a few days before Petron’s (San Miguel’s previous name) much-awaited Christmas Day clash with Ginebra.
Fajardo’s face was downcast, and really had that feeling of wanting to play and lay it all on the line – not just because he will miss going up against his “Kababayan” for the first time since their collegiate days at the Cesafi (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.) but also because he badly wanted to help the Boosters’ cause during the Philippine Cup.
Fajardo ended up missing several games for the Boosters, before returning in time for the playoffs, where Petron got clobbered by the undersized Rain or Shine, 4-1 in a shocking semifinal exit.
Come the Commissioner’s Cup, Fajardo had a freak accident when he stepped on the foot of one of his teammates during practice, leaving him “absent” once more when the Boosters faced the Gin Kings during the early stages of the eliminations.
This Wednesday (June 11), the native of Pinamungahan, Cebu is healthy and raring to go. No more freak accidents in practices. No more mishaps.
Fajardo is averaging career-high numbers of 21.8 points and 17.2 rebounds in the Governors Cup as he continues to lead the MVP statistical race in jus his second season as a pro.
On the other hand, Slaughter, the 6-11 big man out of Ateneo, and earlier, with the University of Visayas, could easily be the cinch for the Rookie of the Year award.
Slaughter owns Governors Cup stats of 15.8 points and 12.5 rebounds, showing his smooth adjustment to new Ginebra coach Jeff Cariaso’s triangle offense.
And obviously, the PBA fans in general, including me (the other side of me as a cage fan) will be watching with interest as Fajardo and Slaughter bang bodies, trade elbows, shoves and possibly, in-your-face dunks come game time.
So folks, grab your tickets, get your cameras ready and expect an exciting basketball sidelight when part 1 of the Fajardo-Slaughter showdown kicks off on Wednesday night.