(UPDATE) He isn’t the best player of the conference for nothing.
San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo added yet another jaw-dropping performance when he hauled down a record 31 rebounds to lead his team to the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup title at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
The feat, which keyed the Beermen’s 71-70 win over Magnolia in the series-clinching game, reset the league’s all-time record for most rebounds in a game by a local player.
According to league statistician Fidel Mangonon III, Fajardo broke the mark set by Marcelo Simbulan, who corralled 29 rebounds for Seven-Up in the league’s inaugural season in 1975.
Jeff Moore registered 31 rebounds in Northern Consolidated’s 114-95 victory over Shell on March 5, 1985, but that NCC squad was a guest team and Moore was considered an amateur player.
Simbulan’s record was so enduring that it happened 14 years prior to Fajardo's birth year.
In typical Fajardo fashion, he shrugged off the Kraken-worthy number.
“Hindi ko ine-expect na magagawa ko ’yun, kasi para sa akin kunin ko lang ang rebound,” said Fajardo. “ ’Yung main na trabaho ko talaga is to rebound.”
Fajardo, the reigning 5-time league MVP, averaged 22.9 points, 19.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in the series, enough to get him series MVP.
“Credit talaga sa teammates ko, sa staff at management. Sa mga teammates ko, kasi sila ang nagki-create talaga ng opportunities sa akin,” he said.
What he relishes the most is their Philippine Cup title victory, which is their fifth straight.
“ ’Yung ganitong opportunity hindi basta mabe-break ito, so sobrang thankful ako na naging part ako sa history na ito,” said Fajardo.
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