Slaughter, Fajardo finally play with championship at stake

June Mar Fajardo vs. Greg Slaughter (1:15)

June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter play against each other in a championship series for the first time since battling in 2009 for the CESAFI crown. (1:15)

Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo, two of the PBA's most accomplished centers, will finally face each other in a championship series.

Barangay Ginebra topped the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 96-94 Monday to advance to the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals against defending champion San Miguel Beermen.

The battle between Slaughter and Fajardo for the mid-season conference trophy is just one of the intriguing matchups in a series full of them.

Slaughter can't wait to face his fellow Cebuano on the biggest stage of the conference.

"It's just good to just be able to face off on the largest stage, in the finals, where all the marbles count. I'm looking forward to it," Slaughter said after Monday's game.

The Slaughter-Fajardo rivalry goes back to college in Cebu when Slaughter played for the University of Visayas and Fajardo suited up for University of Cebu.

Slaughter, born in Cleveland, Ohio, couldn't help but feel nostalgic. The last time they played in a finals Slaughter's UV won the 2009 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) championship.

"This is the first time we get to square off in the [PBA] finals so it brings back good memories of our home in Cebu," he said. "We were young then, 19, 18-years-olds playing in the finals against each other. We've come along. It's exciting to do that again."

Fajardo played down the rivalry. Fajardo said the Commissioner's Cup finals, which features two evenly stacked lineups, is not about them.

"This is about San Miguel and Ginebra," Fajardo said. "We'll do everything to give the fans a great show and win the championship. We really want to win."