Balls-Eye: Did Barangay Ginebra Prove Themselves Already After Winning the Championship?

The champions will be the one who’ll stay alive in the bloody battlefield, but some extraordinary warriors survived.

Justin Brownlee passes to Greg Slaughter
It is Barangay Ginebra once again who remained standing after a very ferocious finals rematch against the Meralco Bolts squad, but did they manage to shut down everyone completely?
Despite winning two consecutive finals series against the hungry Allen Durham and the Meralco Bolts, why does it seem that Brgy Ginebra still is not the most immovable object in the league?
Those were lingering questions right after June Mar Fajardo bagged another MVP award. The Kraken’s just relentless and not leveled to any other player in the league as he managed to snatch the award out of reach of those guys who reached the finals.

So did Barangay Ginebra finally shut down the Kraken? Obviously, no.

They may have defeated the Beermen in the series but they failed to achieve absolute dominance in the league, because if they have overpowered everyone, then more or less one of the players in the team will bag the MVP award.

If there’ll be a guy who can equal the unimaginable firepower inside the gigantic body of Fajardo, well it would be another titanic athlete – Greg Slaughter. Gregzilla’s JuneMar’s biggest and closest matchup in the league – size, style of play and perhaps almost every aspect. Greg Slaughter’s comeback after recovery spelled the difference between their extraordinary to ultimate form. Another main gun that may completely cease the Kraken’s conquering quest is in the hands of Japeth Aguilar.

Why? He’s got the size and athleticism and of these three big men, he perhaps is the best shooter, which is his advantage. Not all guys that big be able to deliver from the perimeter.

Japeth may bring June Mar into a battlefield that’s very uncomfortable for the Kraken.
Ginebra won amazing championships. They already have proven themselves but we are all waiting for them to achieve complete dominance in the league and in this era.

The Kings has the trigger waiting to be clicked to unleash the beasts even more perilous than the Kraken we know.

Watch PBA 2K: Gilas Pilipinas Dream Team vs Turkey

The Philippine team will never be perfect, there will always be that player who you wish could have been part of the team, that player who is injured.
This game, however, will make all your dream a reality.  Gilas Pilipinas roster includes Jordan Clarkson, Greg Slaughter, JunMar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot and much more.

Kraken Not Fully Unleashed Due to Injury, Should Chot Have Replaced Him in the First Place?

JunMar Fajardo never really had a chance to unleash his full potential due to injury

Many questions why JunMar Fajardo is still part of the National roster even though he is injured?
The simple answer is hope. We are all hoping that he would still be able to play and frankly, we never really had any choice because JunMar is the best big man that we have in the country right now.
Although Junmar has been with the team for awhile, he never had a chance to mesh in real time with the Gilas Pilipinas in Lebanon after missing three games and only playing 6 minutes in his sole game so far, which unfortunately also became the first loss of Gilas Pilipinas.
On his first minute playing against Korea, he immediately turned the ball over and was obvious that he again, is still getting acclimated to game speed.  The big man went on to score 2 points while grabbing 4 rebounds and 3 personal fouls.
Injury is a part of the game. The only question that we have is, do you think we could have replaced him instead?

JunMar Fajardo and the Potential Big Bad News

JunMar Fajardo is injured and is doubtful for FIBA Asia Cup

At 6’10 JunMar Fajardo is the Biggest Man in the Gilas Pilipinas Roster 

The next tallest guy in the team is Japeth Aguilar at 6’9″. He naturally plays as Forward and while he is a high leaper and could provide a good production on both ends, losing JunMar could very well mean also losing our chances in the the FIBA Asia Cup.
JunMar Fajardo did not play against Star Hotshots tonight as advised by his doctor after suffering a strained calf in the game against TNT.  The 6-foot-11 center was told to rest for a week, then spend another week to recover before playing basketball again.
And with the FIBA Asia Cup just less than a couple of weeks away, the Kraken could be uncertain to play for the Nationals in the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon that fires off Tuesday.

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JunMar is literally our biggest weapon inside the paint and without him the players would need to be in perfect shooting condition as our big men may not be that big compared to others like China who could be bringing in three seven footers.
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Do you think JunMar Fajardo will play in the FIBA Asia Cup?

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SMB Junemar Fajardo Holding a Snake and Having Fun in the Province

JunMar Fajardo is the most talented center in the PBA right now. He is one of the key players that has made the San Miguel Beermen a great team that it is right now. But behind that monster number that he produces inside the court, he is a simple province boy who loves to enjoy the simple fun in life.
In this video, Junmar Fajardo is enjoying some time with friends and even holding a snake.

Junmar "The Kraken" Fajardo University of Cebu Highlights

Before JunMar Fajardo dominated the PBA, he was wrecking havoc down south. The 27 year old 6’11 Center was born in Cebu and was playing for the university of Cebu during his college years were he showed a glimpse of his greatness.

Since then he has mustered a list of achievements. Lets take a look at some below.

4× PBA champion (2014–15 Philippine, 2015 Governors’, 2015–16 Philippine, 2016–17 Philippine)
PBA Finals MVP (2015 Governors’)
3× PBA Most Valuable Player (2014–2016)
5× PBA Best Player of the Conference (2013–14 Philippine, 2014–15 Philippine, 2015 Governors’, 2015–16 Philippine, 2016–17 Philippine)
3× PBA All-Star (2013, 2014, 2016)
3× PBA Mythical First Team (2014–2016)
PBA Mythical Second Team (2013)
PBA Defensive Player of the Year (2015)
2× PBA All-Defensive Team (2014, 2015)
PBA Most Improved Player (2014)
PBA All-Rookie Team (2013)
2× PBA Sportsmanship Award (2015, 2016)
National Collegiate Player of the Year (2010)
2× CESAFI champion (2010–2011)
3× CESAFI MVP (2009–2011)
3× CESAFI Mythical Team Member (2009–2011)
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 PSA Awardee for Professional Basketball

The 27 year old is not done and the list will go on…but for now let’s look at how he started.

With Lassiter Ejected and Fajardo Limited: SMB Still Fought Well in a Losing Effort

SMB expected a tough crowd coming to Lucena. They realize as well that most of the people are going to cheer for Ginebra. What they did not see coming was the surging Barangay Ginebra in the first half leaving them shocked and seemingly unprepared for the sudden offensive prowess of the Gin Kings in the first half of game 2.
At the end of first half it was 67 – 43. A big 24 point deficit.
The crowd who was majority Ginebra fans were celebrating early. Ginebra had a sudden collapse in the 3rd quarter allowing SMB to score 39 points while they only registered 18 points. It was a disappointing 3rd quarter for the Gins fans. On the other hand though, it was a show of resilience by the San Miguel Beermen.
They are not the top seed and the defending champ for nothing. Tim Cone acknowledged that SMB in not likely to stop until the buzzer. Even if SMB had a series of foul troubles and bad luck with Lassiter being ejected and Fajardo scoring just 10 points, their team fought till the end. 

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Fajardo was a non-factor as Ginebra clogged down on him on defense all game long.
On a positive note however, SMB showed that they don’t cave under pressure and they have weapons even without Lassiter and Fajardo. Arwind Santos and Ronald Tubid carried SMB late in the ball game and both players almost carried the team to a win.
Ginebra did get a lucky bounce late in the 4th that sent the game to overtime and Ginebra continued in their streak to ultimately close out game 2.

Game 3 is on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:
GINEBRA 124 – Aguilar 23, Ferrer 21, Thompson 18, Devance 16, Tenorio 15, Mercado 11, Ellis 8, Marcelo 6, Cruz 4, Taha 2.

SAN MIGUEL 118 – Santos 23, Lassiter 21, Ross 16, Tubid 16, Cabagnot 13, Espinas 13, Fajardo 10, Heruela 4, De Ocampo 2, Agovida 0, Reyes 0.

Quarterscores: 28-20, 67-43, 85-82, 110-110, 124-118.

Tim Cone still Scared to Play San Miguel But Promised to Figure out How to Limit Junmar

Photo by PBA Media Bureau

The short manned Ginebra Roster will be needing more than guts and heart to be able to stop the San Miguel Beermen in this Finals series as they face the star studded Beermen lineup with Junmar Fajardo as the focal point.
Tim Cone has figured out to outplay several tough teams in the PBA through their intensive defensive style. Ginebra defeated San Miguel in the semis last conference where Ginebra was hailed champions after defeating Meralco Bolts in game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals. It was an import laid conference and this current series? It’s gonna be a different story. With Greg Slaughter out of the picture and Joe Devance currently hurt, Ginebra would have to rely on Tim Cone’s “Next Man Up” challenge.
“I think my team can match up everybody, it does hurt that we can’t have Greg Slaughter for Junmar, and then Joe Devance should be here, he was invited to come but we wanna keep him off the street cause he’s got an injured feet he’s on a rehab right now ” Tim Cone’s answer when asked on how they can stop Fajardo.
“I believe in our guys, we will try to find ways to compete with this team, we’re still in shock that we’re 5 wins to 1 against san miguel but that’s the plan would be. “
“I have not watched San miguel play in about three weeks, I dont like to watch other series while we’re focusing on this one, we focus on what we have.”
Coming off a tight series, Cone has yet to review the tapes to prepare for the Finals showdown but he assured that he will get in to it after the Press Conference held at Sambokojin in Eastwood City Libis.
“I don’t really even have a plan yet to stop Junmar, I’m not even sure if there is a plan to stop Junmar and I don’t even think coach Jackson could figure out how to stop Junmar”.

Is it going to be a battle of guards? or battle of bigmen? PBA Season 42 Analysis

After the trimming and building of each PBA teams making the most out of the PBA off-season in trying to showcase a strong line up, we are left clueless of the way this upcoming season is going to be.

As each team wanting to get their line ups filled with new faces considering the size and talent after different star player switches and key player trades, it is going to be an anticipated All Filipino Cup again. After the 41st season’s governors’ cup, every one woke up in a surpise after hearing about a report that involves Star Hotshots’ Star player and the former MVP Paul Lee of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. This might be considered as the biggest blockbuster trade in this generation as Star Hotshots acquired the rights to Paul Lee and RoS to James Yap.

This was just one of those trades that happened, after a successful campaign in the Governors’ Cup, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel the previous conference’s champion traded their back ups such as Nico Salva, Dennice Villamor and Franklin Bonifacio. Just when everyone’s expecting for an intact core for this ballclub after a championship they eventually released some of their players due to an overcrowded roster after drafting 3 more bigmen in the latest PBA Rookie Draft. Ginebra picked Kevin Ferrer a University of Sto. Tomas cager and a gilas cadet. They also acquired the rights to sign Jam Jamito of St. Claire college and their former practice player Jericho De Guzman.

San Miguel Beermen also acquired another bigman Van Opstal as a backup of Junmar Fajardo who has a potential to be a threat inside the paint. The beermen then released Gary David from their roster after having some difficulties meeting it’s salary cap and also because of multiple players with the same position as David.

There are lots of trades that involved guards and centers and it’s too many to mention but is this season going to be a battle of fronliners? or a backcourt competition?

Based on what each teams are trying to achieve, San Miguel Beermen’s Junmar Fajardo has been the benchmark. Trying to match up this former MVP is the goal of every team in this conference as they will not have any reinforcement until the 2nd and 3rd conference. Play making is one of the key factors to consider too but the focal point of this new season is building a strong frontline roster for each team to be able to overcome and surpass what Fajardo is producing. With the addition Arnold Van Opstal in the Beermen’s frontcourt, it will be hard for any teams to battle inside the paint.

Well for me? It’s going to be a battle of the goliaths. Having a very skill and size filled rookie class, it will certainly be a matter of who will dominate the paint than who can make plays in the back court.