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Fajardo, Beermen nearing peak form

Photograph courtesy of June Mar Fajardo/FB June Mar Fajardo is poised to win an unprecedented seventh PBA MVP trophy.

Seven-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo has been doing damage, helping San Miguel Beer reach its peak entering the crucial stretch of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.

In his first game since being sidelined with a fractured left ring finger, Fajardo hardly showed signs of rust as he flirted with a double-double performance in leading the Beermen to a 125-117 victory over Blackwater in their final day of eliminations.

Fajardo, who sat out for six weeks, was given 33 minutes of action to finish with 11 points and nine rebounds for the Beermen, who secured the second spot in the quarterfinals.

With that, San Miguel will only need one win over Rain or Shine before advancing to the best-of-five semifinals.

Fajardo credits his coaches for helping him fast-track his recovery.

“The coaches helped fast-track my return to form,” the 6-foot-10 Fajardo said.

“While I’m still trying to work my way back, there were coaches who had been helping me out.”

But San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent stressed that Fajardo’s discipline in taking good care of his body helped him regain his fitness.

“You could tell that he hasn’t gained weight despite being inactive,” Gallent, whose wards are on a roll after winning their past five games, said.

“He was still lifting weights and doing some workouts.”

With still a week to prepare, much is expected from Fajardo as the Beermen zero in on an outright semifinal berth against the dangerous Elasto Painters on Friday.

The Elasto Painters are the hottest team in the league so far after winning six games in a row.

They won six of their last seven games since bringing in Demetrius Treadwell, who provided solid interior presence and rim protection.

More than that, Treadwell can match up well with Fajardo, giving the Elasto Painters a good chance against the Beermen in the quarterfinals.

Still, the Beermen are favored to win because of their key acquisitions in Jeron Teng and Don Trollano as well as the veteran core of CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, Mo Tautuaa, Chris Ross and Jericho Cruz with Bennie Boatwright as import.

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