June Mar’s a big shot despite Petron’s loss-A A +A
Saturday, October 26, 2013
LAST Friday night on TV5, I watched the Game 7 of the PBA. It was close. Petron led. San Mig would rebound and even the score. The Coffee Mixers would sprint to a four-point lead; the Blaze Boosters would boost their human engines and tie the game.
The deadlocked scores explained it all: 28-all; 31-31; 33-all; midway in the third quarter, it was the same: 47-47.
One game remained in the season and both San Miguel Corp.-owned teams wanted the big W. Both teams were aggressive. Marc Pingris hustled.
Marcus Blakely muscled his way.
June Mar Fajardo, the 6-foot-10 giant of Petron and a native of our own Pinamungajan, Cebu, was a colossal power for his team. He was their star.
Wearing spiked (“tuyom”) hair, he engaged in many of the team’s offensive pursuits. On fast breaks, he’d dash to the goal. There was one finger-roll shot that caused the 21,000 fans inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum to applaud. On another play, after a one-hander by James Yap, Fajardo outperforms the former Mr. Kris Aquino. Junemar, under the hoop, makes an acrobatic, on-the-air shot — then sinks the free throw for a three-point-play.
On the final shot of the first half, when the score was — again, tied — at 39-apiece, it was the Cebuano behemoth who made it 41-39.
June Mar is confident. He’s determined and intense. He’d make the sign of the cross before free-throwing. Blocked by Pingris in a perfect-for-YouTube moment, he shrugs off the embarrassment and continues his assault.
Sadly, in the end, four consecutive missed free-throws by June Mar with five minutes left in the fourth quarter did not help Petron’s cause. After countless deadlocked scores, San Mig sprinted ahead towards the finish and emerged triumphant, 87-77.
Still, the tall man can stand tall. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” the TV commentator said at the end of the game, referring to June Mar’s 20-point, 15-rebound performance last Friday. I agree. No loss translates to happiness but that game — and many times during the Finals series — the immense promise of the immensely-gigantic Cebuano was evident. I believe his Gilas Pilipinas stint — guarding the NBA player Hamed Haddadi, for example — and playing for the country and the Philippine flag boosted the mental fortitude of Fajardo.
“The entire UC community is happy and proud of June Mar,” said Atty. Baldomero Estenzo, the mentor of June Mar and a pillar in Cebu’s basketball scene, in our text-message exchange yesterday. Atty. Merong Estenzo isn’t only proud of the on-court showing of his UC’s pride but also of his off-court modesty. “We’re happy not just with the way he played but more importantly, how his popularity has not gone to his head. He is still the same humble person that he was when he left Cebu to play in the ABL.”
CEBU MARATHON. With one of the country’s top races coming up soon — that’s the 2014 Cebu City Marathon, this January 12, 2014 — you can now register both online or on-site. Via the internet, it’s www.cebumarathon.com. With the face-to-face method, the registration site is at the Active Zone of the Ayala Center Cebu (the booth is across Nike and beside Bread Talk).
If you still haven’t heard, the prize money is sizeable. It’s P100,000 for the 42K champion (same prize for the men and women), P60,000 for the runner-up and P30,000 for the third-placer. With the 21K, it’s P30,000 to the champ, 20K for the runner-up and 10K for the 2nd runner-up.
For the registration fees, the good news is, the fees are almost the same as last year’s: P1,400 for the 42K and P1,000 for the half-marathon. But here’s the important reminder: These are “early-bird discounted rates” — only from now until Nov. 10. Starting Nov. 11, it will be the regular (slightly more expensive) rates.
Thus, it’s good to register now! Remember, apart from the Milo Marathon in Manila, this is the country’s only truly international race that’s certified by AIMS and IAAF. Visit the Ayala Center booth or the website for full details.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2013.