San Miguel’s quest for a sixth straight Philippine Cup title sustained a massive dent after main man June Mar Fajardo was diagnosed with a fractured right tibia and was ruled out for the duration of the season-opening Philippine Cup.
For the team’s lead sniper Marcio Lassiter, however, the goal has remained the same even without the presence of the league’s only 5-time Most Valuable Player awardee.
“I want to come in always playing hard and knowing that we need to compete to be in the Finals. Anything less than that is a loss for us because we always compete every year. Our goal is one thing – to win a championship,” said Lassiter.
With the 6-foot-10 Fajardo in tow, the Beermen captured the All-Filipino title since the 2014-15 season and every year thereafter. The flagship team of the SMC group eventually bagged the Perpetual trophy during the 2016-17 Philippine Cup and are on the verge of duplicating that feat this coming season.
Along with the team’s string of victories came Fajardo’s as the native of Pinamungajan, Cebu took home the MVP trophy for 5 straight years and is poised to bring home another one once the league ushers in its 45th season on Sunday, March 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite the tremendous impact the loss of the ‘gentle giant’ is expected to create, Lassiter believes that the team still has more than enough talent to finish the job.
“As any member that goes down to the team, we kind of just want to get that next man up mentality. Obviously he’s a huge, huge guy to fill a role and he’s been winning all the MVPs for a reason. He’s been that dominant,” he said.
“But I do feel we have plenty of talent. Guys here can step up, but I know we have to do this as a team, collectively. That’s what’s gonna be interesting.”