Manila Bulletin

June Mar shuts door on Gi­las

- By TITO S. TALAO San Miguel Brewery · Saudi Arabia · Slovenia · Panama · Namibia · Star Hotshots

At 6-foot-10, June Mar Fa­jardo prob­a­bly fig­ured it would be point­less to dodge ques­tions dur­ing the PBA Press Corps Awards last Wed­nes­day night, and so waded right into them.

They were a sight to be­hold: the shy, soft-spo­ken gi­ant trapped against a wall in­side the Cen­tury Park ball­room by a pha­lanx of re­porters most of whom barely reach up to his waist.

On the play­ing court, the San Miguel Beer cen­ter can smash against the goal post a one-on-one de­fender, split apart a dou­ble-team­ing de­fense, even shat­ter a triple-team us­ing his broad shoul­ders and huge fore­arms and shoul­ders.

But against a dozen blood-thirsty sportswrit­ers, who jam their voice recorders and cell phones on his face and won’t take ‘no com­ment’ for an­swer, Fa­jardo was a patsy.

Even his most win­ning smile couldn’t win the scribes over.

Asked how it felt to win the De­fen­sive Player of the Year award, Fa­jardo, one of the best at self-dep­re­ca­tion, de­ferred to some­body else.

“Sa di­nami-dami ng play­ers sa PBA, andyan na­man si Ping (Star Hotshots’ Marc Pin­gris), ako pa yung napili,” he said, ap­par­ently for­get­ting that his league-lead­ing shot blocks and re­bounds and in­tim­i­dat­ing pres­ence in­side are a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to over­look dur­ing the se­lec­tion process.

And as old as the is­sue of his beg­ging off from con­sid­er­a­tion to Gi­las Pilip­inas is, Fa­jardo nonethe­less showed pa­tience in once more of­fer­ing, maybe for the last time, his un­com­pli­cated rhetoric.

“Nag-usap kami ni Coach [Tab Bald­win] tungkol dyan be­fore mag-start yung Gi­las at sin­abi ko nga sa kanya ng gusto kong sumama,” Fa­jardo said. “Kaso me in­jury nga ako. Ayoko na­man na sasama ako tapos hindi na­man ako makaka­pag-prac­tice. Baka isipin nag­babakasyon lang ako kaya ip­inahinga ko na lang ung paa ko.”

He also finds it un­think­able sug­ges­tions that he take the place of 6-foot-9 NLEX cen­ter Asi Taulava, who was sum­moned for ac­tive duty af­ter Fa­jardo an­nounced that plan­tar fasci­itis on his right foot will keep him out of the na­tional team.

“Nakakahiya na­man (if Taulava’s spot is given to him), sila yung naghi­rap tapos isas­ali nila ako; hindi da­pat,” Fa­jardo said.

 ??  ?? San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fa­jardo poses with a scribe af­ter re­ceiv­ing his De­fen­sive Player of the Year award dur­ing the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Wed­nes­day night. (Manny Llanes)
San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fa­jardo poses with a scribe af­ter re­ceiv­ing his De­fen­sive Player of the Year award dur­ing the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Wed­nes­day night. (Manny Llanes)

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