by Jonas Terrado
June Mar Fajardo is an ordinary guy who happens to do extraordinary things like collecting individual accolades, hoisting championship trophies and breaking records on a regular basis.
Being a home boy who spends his spare time playing the popular online game Dota like a kid at a computer shop is something rare for a sports figure of his stature, preferring to show different attitude on the hardcourt as the main man of the PBA’s model franchise.
The San Miguel Beermen center is seems poised to do the unthinkable this season, with two records likely to be broken – the most number of Best Player of the Conference and, most importantly, Most Valuable Player awards.
He’s bound to break one of the two records this week, being the leading candidate in the Best Player race of the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup, with no one appearing to be a clear challenger to take home the silver plaque.
Fajardo finished the semifinals still on top of the BPC derby with 44.2 Statistical Points, way ahead of the 36.7 SPs compiled by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Japeth Aguilar, who he dominated in their five-game series with ease.
There appears to be no objection from the players, media and the PBA Commissioner’s Office in giving the nod to Fajardo, who will move past former teammate and mentor Danny Ildefonso for most number of BPC awards. The two are currently tied with five apiece.
Achieving such feat, which could become a reality moments prior to Wednesday’s fourth game of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between San Miguel and Magnolia, is something remarkable for a “Bisdak” who grew up playing pool in his hometown of Pinagmungajan, Cebu before becoming an unlikely discovery of the University of Cebu.
“Sino mageexpect nun, diba?” Fajardo told scribes after last week’s Game 2 of the Philippine Cup Finals. “Ano lang ba naman ako dati. Wala akong hilig sa basketball, tapos ngayon mabebreak ko na yung record ng mga magagaling sa PBA. Nakakaproud sa sarili.”
Winning this conference’s BPC opens the door for Fajardo to capture a record fifth MVP, which would break his tie with Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio. The Philippine Cup, the most prestigious in all of the PBA’s three conferences, carries a big weight in the MVP derby.
Fernandez and Patrimonio are larger than life figures, dealing with popularity in more regal ways. Fajardo, however, seems to shy away from it, preferring to keep the same attitude that brought him to the pinnacle.
Basketball seems to be easiest part of Fajardo’s life. After Game 2, the gentle giant admitted to be sweating as he tried to speak the English language without mistakes in an interview with Grayson Boucher, the popular streetballer nicknamed “The Professor.”
The interview turned out well for Fajardo, who eventually got back to his natural self when he planted a kiss at Aerial Patnongon, his 6-foot-1 girlfriend who once played for the Ateneo women’s volleyball team, before flashing a wide grin on his way back to the locker room.