June Mar shuts door on Gilas
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.