JUNE Mar Fajardo’s potential is steadily turning into reality.
The prized rookie stepped up when needed the most to lead Petron Blaze to a crucial win and earn for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period March 11 to 17.
With the Boosters playing minus an import and sorely wanting an inside presence the 6-foot-10 behemoth gamely delivered to the tune of 20 points and 13 rebounds, both teamhighs in an 87-79 victory over Rain or Shine last Saturday.
In all, Fajardo made all but two of his 11 attempts from the floor and also issued two assists and swatted away a shot in 25 minutes of action that pointed his team to a sixth win in eight games and a share of the lead with Alaska.
For Petron coach Olsen Racela, the performance should be expected from the Cebu-born center who turned only 23 last November.
“It’s a testament to how he works hard. Even after practice he spends extra hours para ma-hone iyung game niya. Iba talaga iyung drive ni June Mar,” said Racela.
It also doesn’t hurt that the man who Petron tabbed as the top draft pick overall has a very qualified tutor in two-time Most Valuable Player and long-time team stalwart Danny Ildefonso.
“June Mar admittedly looks up to Danny I and who better to teach him than Danny I?” posed Racela.
“Talagang binibigyan siya ni Danny I ng oras during and after practice, working on his post moves, and it’s showing in his game. Before wala siyang jump hook, ngayon meron na. Kay Danny I iyun.”
Another seasoned slotman in Dorian Pena also throws in his two cents’ worth in making Fajardo’s game more well-rounded.
“Si Dorian ang tumutulong sa kanya on the defensive end, teaching him a few tricks here and there,” related Racela.
All those are helping Fajardo’s development as a player progress in the desired direction.
Currently, Fajardo averages 10.0 points, anchored on a 53.7 percent field shooting, as well as 7.5 rebounds per game and Racela is foremost among those who believe the cager will soon reach his full potential, what with time on their side.
“There’s no rush,” Racela hastens to point out.
“That’s why you see him playing a lot of minutes one game and hindi masyado another game. But he is steadily getting there.”(pr)