Challenge is to get to the playoffs without Fajardo, says SMB coach Leo Austria

San Miguel will play its second game in the elimination round of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup minus main man June Fajardo when the defending champs take on the Converge FiberXers on Friday, October 21 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

The 32-year old Cebuano underwent successful throat surgery last week and is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks.

The Beermen are looking to bounce back after absorbing a demoralizing 26-point beating at the hands of guest team Bay Area last Sunday.

Aside from the absence of the league’s one and only 6-time MVP, San Miguel will be parading its 3rd import in the conference after a forgettable stint by Diamond Stone.

Stone, who came in as a late replacement for original choice Thomas Robinson, could only muster 11 points in 36 minutes going 0-of-7 from beyond the arc in the lopsided loss to the Dragons.

Without Fajardo in the upcoming games, SMB coach Leo Austria feels that it could be a make-or-break scenario for the reigning Philippine Cup champions.

“Mawawala siya (Fajardo) for four weeks, he will miss five games, we don’t know (exactly). But come playoffs, I think he’ll be available. So the challenge for us is to get to the playoffs,” said Ausria.

“Talagang na-feel namin. Iba ang impact ng pagkawala niya (Fajardo). All our plays involve him. If he’s not posting up, we use him as a screener, as a roller and once he gets the ball, our opponents double him and that’s an opportunity for our shooters to have an open shot,” he added.

Taking over Stone’s spot is Devon Scott, a well-travelled American who last saw action for Mexico’s Fuerza Regia wherein he compiled 13-game averages of 13.0 points and 4.8 rebounds.

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