Let me start with a quote from the SMB coach:
Whenever a team is playing against us, most of the time they are thinking of JunMar, Stop JunMar. Well, there are four other players on the court. - Coach Leo
You can't argue with the coach, but I will reason a bit. It is true that the rest of the players around Fajardo are great players. In the absence of Fajardo's performance, four guys are ready to step up. And most of the time they do.
Lassiter is one of the most consistent players in SMB. He has averaged about 18 points in the last three games and also arguably the best pure shooter in the game.
Alex Cabagnot, the maskman has average double figures all series long. The left hander has always been a reliable source of offense and playmaking for the team.
Chris Ross with another Finals MVP type of performance has been the most conistent SMB with probably above .500 shooting percentage in all four games and an average of 18.5 games. I won't be surprised if he gets the finals MVP again.
Arwind Santos, although having an on and off type of game has provided mental and physical toughness to the team, has always risen to the occasion when needed and has also made some key plays down the stretch.
These are the main characters under SMB that has continued to give Ginebra a tough time. Aside from a few punches thrown in by the bench players, the first five of SMB has been mostly responsible of the victories.
However, while the four players I have mentioned are critical, I will argue the statement of Coach Leo on the strategy of opposing team against them, because based on data it looks like if you stop Fajardo you also actually stop SMB.
Here's the production of Fajardo per game.
1st- 17 points, 8 rebounds win
2nd - 10 points, 7 rebound lost
3rd - 17 points, 18 rebounds win
4th - 20 points, 13 rebounds
It may be bit shallow if we just consider this but as an opposing coach we know that aside from shooting well and good defense, you know that you have to address the issue of Fajardo. If you study the law of probability you know that stopping JunMar could equate to stopping SMB.
That is the big question.
It's easy to say it and frankly no teams has ever done it, no, not without an import. Fajardo is the biggest and the most skillful local big man today. No one can ever match up to him right now.
And this is why they would probably win the championship tonight, If Fajardo's plays well tonight, I can almost say that the balloons will fall and SMB will be crowned the All Filipino Champ.