Team Scottie has a modest advantage over Team Japeth, which is missing Fajardo

Mar 18, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – tough rivalry heating up fast and grinding hard. With June Mar Fajardo no longer playing for Team Japeth in the PBA All-Star game on Sunday, Team Scottie undoubtedly received a significant break.

Coach Yeng Guiao, however, would not want his team to enter the league’s first All-Star game in the previous three years with a sense of complacency.

The Iloilo Sports Complex hosted a practice for Guiao’s side on Saturday, led by captain Scottie Thompson. “We feel na merong tiny advantage, but it’s not just about June Mar. It’s not just just about that match. It’s also about the rest because they are our superstars,” Guiao said.

The start time of the contest is six o’clock. The 6-foot-11 Fajardo, selected second overall in the All-Star draft, chose to forego the showcase after suffering a knee injury during San Miguel Beer’s most recent appearance in Japan’s Champions Week for the East Asia Super League (EASL). He was a key player for Team Japeth under coach Tim Cone, but he was absent from the City of Passi Arena event.

Fajardo is replaced by Meralco’s 6-foot-8 Raymond Almazan.

After Almazan was added to the Team Japeth lineup alongside stragglers Arwind Santos, Jio Jalaon, and Alex Cabagnot, Guiao remarked, “That’s still going to count as a big man.

It lessens the severity of our dilemma a little bit, but the other men can still make a difference, so it’s still not only about June Mar.

Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana, Paul Lee, Jeremiah Gray, Gian Mamuyac, and Nards John Pinto are other members of Team Japeth in addition to Almazan, Santos, Cabagnot, and Jalalon.

When asked how his club would make up for the loss of Fajardo, captain Japeth Aguilar emphasized that they had players who could run and shoot well from beyond the arc.

In this year’s All-Star game, which has a new format, Guiao predicts a competitive affair.

They replied they only wanted to win when Guiao asked Scottie Thompson about it. 

Before it was postponed for the last three years owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, the PBA last held the All-Star game at Calasiao, Pangasinan in 2019.

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