BELIEVE it or not, there was a time when the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award-winner June Mar Fajardo played like a mortal and had difficulty against specific match-ups in the Cesafi.
The humble giant from Pinamungahan, who is still recovering from a fractured leg, led the University of Cebu Webmasters to two championships and won three MVP awards in the Cesafi. But Fajardo shared that it wasn’t always a walk in the park and cited several players that gave him trouble back then.
“Ang mga players na maglisud ko sa ilang depensa kay daghan man,” shared the 30-year-old Cebuano legend. “Siyempre na si Greg Slaughter.”
The two giants battled in the Cesafi for a few years and even met in the 2009 Cesafi finals, which Slaughter and the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers won.
“No disrespect to June Mar, the man was also the beast and one of the greats of all time in Philippine basketball but when he and Greg battled it out back in college, Greg would always win the match up and June Mar had a hard time attacking him in the post,” narrated Mikey Cabahug, the son of PBA great Elmer Cabahug and a teammate of Slaughter during that championship run.
Fajardo also named several other players that he had a tough time going up against. This included the University of San Jose-Recoletos’ Kurt Amores and Jan Malinao, the University of San Carlos’ Enrico Llanto, UV’s Rino Berame and Edrian Lao, Don Bosco’s John dela Rama, and Southwestern University’s Rene Pacquiao, Clifford Maguate and Justin Aboude.
“Maglisud man ko og score ani nila one on one. Mao gibuhatan ko og plays nila coach para mas maka-score ko og dali,” shared Fajardo.
The gentle giant added that he never took any of the match-ups personally. Rather, he focused on what the team’s gameplan was and just took what the defense gave him.
“Sundon lang namo ang gameplan namo. Maayo kaayo og gameplay si Coach Rhoel Gomez. Ang guards ra iyang ipa-create and then, mo-post ra ko aron dili kaayo ko mag-lisod.”