There’s a theory going around in sports that players tend to have poor performances right after they are feted with awards. June Mar Fajardo, though, has debunked that theory for at least one game.

The San Miguel Beermen needed to win Game 4 and on the night he won his record 10th PBA Best Player of the Conference award, Fajardo put the Beermen on his shoulders. Twelve of his 28 points came in the first quarter as the Cebuano helped the SMB build a lead that grew to as large as 14 points and even put the finishing touches on a 111-101 victory over the Meralco Bolts even as the Bolts tried to make one more rally.

For much of the series, Meralco made life hell for Fajardo, who had to deal with multiple defenders who would push him around and take him out of his element. Certainly San Miguel’s tactic of deploying another big man opened things up for the 7-time PBA MVP and when he finds an opening, he certainly won’t put that to waste.

The 28 points Fajardo finished with in Game 4 were a team-high, but the 13 rebounds were the better barometer as to how the 10-time PBA champion was able to handle the physicality brought about by the Bolts’ Brandon Bates, Cliff Hodge, and Raymond Almazan in this contest.

There’s a reason many consider the PBA Philippine Cup to be the June Mar Fajardo Invitational. At 6-10, Fajardo towers over not just everyone but EVERYONE. Add the fact that he is the most skilled big man in recent memory and you have what is arguably the most unstoppable 1-on-1 matchup in the league today.

Fajardo has certainly gone up in age and had his fair share of injuries, but those have only allowed the likes of CJ Perez, Don Trollano, and Jericho Cruz to develop their games and for Marcio Lassiter to rediscover his form. That being said, it has also allowed Fajardo to pick his spots and come up big when the Beermen need him the most, just like in Game 4. If anything, this will only prolong the career of someone who is viewed by many as the PBA’s GOAT.

Game 5 of the 2024 Honda PBA Philippine Cup Finals is set for Friday and the San Miguel Beermen can thank June Mar Fajardo for giving them momentum heading into what could be a pivotal point in the series.

Will Fajardo come up with another strong performance? There’s always the possibility of that, but they definitely can count on him to make the right plays when the Beermen need it the most.