The reigning Best Player of the Conference and sophomore June Mar Fajardo will make his first appearance in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when San Miguel Beermen collide with arch-rival Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters in the battle of two unbeaten teams on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
New import Kevin Jones will also make his debut with the Beermen and, along with Fajardo, will form a dreadful combination inside.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo missed the team’s first two games after spraining his left ankle during practice prior to the start of the conference.
But his absence hardly mattered for the new-look Beermen, who under new coach Biboy Ravanes and active consultant Todd Purves have posted two impressive victories in as many outings.
With former New Jersey Net Josh Boone, San Miguel massacred Meralco, 94-76, in its conference debut and followed it up with a 112-96 dismantling of crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra.
Jones over Boone
However, San Miguel coaching staffs favor Jones over Boone on Monday, citing reasons that the former will complement more on Fajardo’s play.
Jones arrived early Saturday morning and was able to catch on television the Beermen's second straight win in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, a 112-96 demolishing of Ginebra that turned out to be the farewell game of Boone.
Coach Norman Black says Talk ’N Text will have its hands full against a San Miguel team that puts a lot of emphasis on defense and strong perimeter shooting.
“Based on San Miguel’s first two games, we will have to bring our best game when we play them,” Black said.
The game will start at 8 p.m. on Friday's main event.
Black noted that San Miguel is moving the ball well as evidenced by the 25-assist average in its first two games.
Ravanes said Fajardo’s minutes will be managed against the Tropang Texters since he joined the team’s practice only on Thursday.
“Puwede na siya (Fajardo) maglaro pero limited minutes lang siya kasi kahapon nag-shooting lang siya tapos ngayon (Thursday) pa lang siya sumali sa practice,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes also expects Jones to fit in well for the Beermen, taking note of his ability to play defense since his college days at West Virginia.
“He’s (Jones) not really a guy who’ll give you 30 points per game, but he fits well in our system,” said Ravanes, who took over from Gee Abanilla during the conference break.
“Ang maganda sa kanya, nagje-jell siya sa defensive system namin. Iyan ang attribute na nababagay sa sistema namin.”
Jones is fresh from a stint with the Canton Charge in the NBA Developmental League, where he averaged 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds before joining the Beermen last week.
While Talk N' Text will parade Richard Howell as their reinforcement.
Expect a tough battle between two defensive imports in Howell and Jones.
--- with reports from Spin.ph
The Kraken and Kevin Jones will make their debut against arch-rival Talk N' Text
Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on