Fajardo rewards UC for loyalty

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Saturday, July 23, 2011


UNDENIABLY, the University of Cebu (UC) man mountain Junemar Fajardo is one of the most-sought after players who will be available for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) rookie draft next year.

The 6’10” prized find from Mabini 1 in Pinamungajan town in southwestern Cebu opted to play his final year for the Webmasters’ title defense in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) this year, rather than join the field hopefuls who want to join the pay-for-play league.

“This is my way of paying back the goodness of Atty. (Augusto) Go and Atty. (Baldomero) Estenzo. Naa pa man ko one year, so ako na lang ni tiwason. Aron pod ko makabayad sa kaayo nila nako kay wa gyud ko nila pasagdi, ila gyud kong gi-tudlo-an sa tarong,” Fajardo said in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

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Last year, Fajardo helped UC end the University of the Visayas Green Lancers’ nine-year reign as Cesafi champions, winning the title for the first time, 3-1.

That victory also earned them a trip to the National Collegiate Champions League, where UC finished fourth after losing to Ateneo de Manila University in the semifinals.

Fajardo got his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BSHRM) last March but opted to take up BS Commerce this school year to make himself eligible for the Cesafi tournament.

“I learned a lot of things in my stay here in UC. I became more mentally and physically tough as a person and as an athlete. Dako ang akong utang kabubot-on sa UC kay sila maoy naghimo nakong ing-ani,” said Fajardo.

Despite his staying for a year in the amateur league, the pros are already knocking.

Fajardo is already assured of a slot in the San Miguel Corp. team in the Asean Basketball League in January.

“I am flattered that San Miguel is having an interest in me for the ABL. But honestly, I got no offer yet to play. All I wanted now is to lead UC to our title defense. But if that will happen, I need to intensify my training because they might have high expectations of me. So I need to deliver my best,” said Fajardo.

The 2010 Collegiate Players of the Year awardee of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League admitted that he needs to be more competitive in the higher leagues since he would not enjoy the same advantage he once had when he leaves the collegiate ranks next year.

“I need to develop my speed. I don’t have that. Skills-wise, I also need some more fine-tuning specially on my defense. Offense will just follow if I will have a good defense,” said Fajardo.

Scouts have been waiting in line to get their glimpse of Fajardo, while PBA teams will have to wait until 2012 to get him.

“I am concentrating now on our title defense in Cesafi and I hope I can get the same support from my teammates. And to my supporters, dako kaayo akong pasalamat nila kay naa sila pirmi nag support nako. Akong ipakita kutob sa akong makaya para nila,” said the 21-year-old future basketball super star.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 24, 2011.

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