Raymond Almazan is definitely up to the task of limiting June Mar Fajardo.
As Meralco leveled the series to 2-2 in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup semifinals, the lanky 6-foot-8 center embraced the role of stopping the six-time Most Valuable Player awardee in a bid to wrap up the series and make their first all-Filipino finals appearance.
Luckily, he found accomplices to somehow pull it off.
“He’s (Fajardo) really hard to guard. All of our big men are being prepared, Kyle (Pascual), me and Noy (Baclao) are doing a team effort because we can’t stop June Mar with one man only,” Alamazan said.
“We really trust coach Norman’s plan that we can stop June Mar. Since Coach Norman’s (Black) arrival, he has already told us that plan.”
Almazan, who hit the dagger trey that sent rival Barangay Ginebra San Miguel packing in the quarterfinals, said putting clamps on the 6-foot-9 Fajardo is a daunting assignment given to him by Black since he arrived from a break in the United States.
The former Letran College star became their primary option against the skillful Fajardo, while still producing impressive numbers of 17 points and six rebounds in their Game 4 win.
Meralco’s energized frontcourt, however, was able to stun its Beermen counterpart, forcing Fajardo as their only source inside the paint.
And Almazan strongly believes they should keep it that way.
“If we want to win, we should do it now. Once we lose, it will be very hard to get back,” Almazan said.