Last night, June Mar Fajardo had just finished playing in the 2017 SEABA Championships with Gilas Pilipinas, helping the Philippines win the coveted gold medal to reign supreme once more in Southeast Asia.
16 hours later, the 6-foot-10 behemoth returned to his mother team in the PBA right away, foregoing any rest to help San Miguel Beermen dispatch NLEX Road Warriors to formally enter the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
The 28-year-old Cebuano can actually sit out and re-energize, as he and Gilas are coming off a grueling, seven-day tourney that saw them take a break only for a day. But Fajardo insisted not to, as he was not totally worn out as thought.
“‘Di naman kami masyadong pagod sa SEABA, kasi light lang practice at everyday yung game,” shared the soft-spoken slotman, moments after the Beermen’s 114-108 victory at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“‘Di naman masyado napagod.”
Upon his return, everyone from the Beermen side was upbeat, especially head coach Leo Austria.
“I’m happy that June Mar is back,” said the veteran mentor.
“Saludo ako sa proessionalism niya, although alam naman natin na he played in the SEABA.”
Even after playing in six games in seven days, Fajardo played for 30 minutes against NLEX, finishing with 12 markers on 4-of-8 shots, to go with four boards and two blocks.
But the reigning three-time Most Valuable Player admitted that he was a bit surprised and felt new to the PBA’s style of play. Furthermore, Fajardo was fouled out of the game, still with less than two minutes left to play.
“Medyo nanibago. Nanibago ako sa laro kasi dun sa SEABA mabilis, dito set-up,” Fajardo shared.
“‘Di ko namalayan na nakarami na pala ako,” he added, regarding the six fouls he garnered in his return.
Nevertheless, Fajardo’s return have brought positives yet again for San Miguel, especially now that they are now qualified in the playoffs. But Fajardo does not want to be confident, as tough teams will stand in their way.
“Malalakas pa kalaban namin — Ginebra, Alaska,” said Fajardo.