Fajardo joins giants-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
TOWERING 6’9” Junmar Fajardo of Cebu led the casts of big men who are the rookies to watch in the next season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Aside from Fajardo, other potentials are the reigning king of the NCAA, the PBA D-League (MVP) Most Valuable Player, a former Smart Gilas-Pilpinas training pool member, and a slew of talented Fil-Ams are among the 61 aspirants who will try their luck in the PBA Annual Draft on Aug. 19 at the Robinson Midland Plaza in Manila.
Fajardo formally submitted his application papers at the PBA office Monday and joined the likes of San Sebastian stalwart Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel, a recipient of the MVP award in the NCAA and D-League, respectively. The one-time national player Aldrech Ramos and foreign-bred players led by Chris Ellis, Cliff Hodge, Jason Deutchman, Charles Keith Jensen, and Alex Mallari are also in contention.
The deadline for submission for local players wanting to join the league’s 38th season
is on Aug. 3.
Air21 owned this year’s top overall pick, although the rights have since been traded to Petron. And the Blaze Boosters are expected to pick as No. 1 draft the 22-year-old Fajardo, who played for the San Miguel Beermen in the recent Asean Basketball League, where they finished runner-up behind Indonesian Warriors.
The Compostela, Cebu-native Fajardo has been the dominant big man in the South the past four years, winning three MVP titles and steering the University of Cebu Webmasters to back-to-back championships in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi).
He once rivaled fellow big man Greg Slaughter of the University of the Visayas, until the Fil-Am 7’0” center went to the Big City and transferred to Ateneo de Manila.
Others in the list are Ronald Pascual, who forms part of the San Sebastian Stags’ dreaded ‘Big 3’ along with Abueva and Ian Sangalang; big man Dave Marcelo who played a key role in San Beda’s back-to-back NCAA championships; Jewel Ponferada, Eman Monfort of four-time UAAP title- holder Ateneo, former Far Eastern University gunner JR Cawaling, and the Adamson quartet of Lester Alvarez, Janus Lozada, Jerick Canada, and Jan Colina. Second generation players, such as Raymond Austria, Paul Gonzalgo, Danilo Pribhdas Jr. and Paul Zamar, are joining the cast.
All rookie aspirants will undergo the regular biometrics procedure on Aug. 15, before the league issues the final list of candidates on Aug. 16.
Powerade used last year’s No. 1 overall pick on JV Casio, who lost to No. 2 Paul Lee of Rain or Shine for the coveted Rookie of the Year title in the Annual PBA Leo Awards last Sunday.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2012.