More than 20,000 people roared as the buzzer sounded and confetti flew through the air inside Mall of Asia Arena.
Scores of people ran to the parquet floor to celebrate a triumph in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, hugs were exchanged, and red championship t-shirts were given away.
This was an all too familiar scene for the six-time champion June Mar Fajardo, but this time, he wasn’t part of the merriment.
The usually cheerful Fajardo had his head down as he headed to one of the exits after San Miguel lost its first championship round in three years in the Leo Austria era in Game 6.
“Maybe I’ll use this short break to reflect on what happened. It was but you can’t win everything,” said Fajardo in Filipino after the jubilation over Ginebra’s 93-88 title-clinching victory has ended and the fans have left the venue.
“We were happy in the last conference because we were the champions [in the Philippine Cup], but this one belonged to Ginebra so we just have to accept the loss.”
The last time Fajardo had his heart broken in the finals was back in the 2013 Governors’ Cup when San Miguel, then called Petron, lost to Magnolia, then known as San Mig Coffee.
That finals loss preceded a year of futility for San Miguel before it hired Austria that launched the Beermen into the stratosphere winning four straight Philippine Cups, one Governors’ Cup, and one Commissioner’s Cup.
All those past accomplishments, though, seemed to have no weight for Fajardo at the moment.
After putting up 29 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, all Fajardo could think about was the future of his erstwhile dominant team.
“We can’t be stagnant. We want to improve conference after conference because the other teams are improving as well,” said Fajardo. “This is a wakeup call for us. We can’t be complacent and we can’t just expect teams to roll over for us because were San Miguel.”
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