JUNE Mar Fajardo says he has learned a lot by merely observing Andray Blatche in Gilas Pilipinas’ first eight days of training camp in Miami, Florida.
Although Fajardo dominated the recent 39th PBA season on the way to being named the league’s MVP, the San Miguel Beer star center feels he still has a lot to learn.
“Magaling siya (Blatche) mag-dribble. Masarap siyang panoorin maglaro at ang galing niya sa shot fakes,” Fajardo told Spin.ph shortly after Gilas’ 95-74 victory over a Miami Pro-Am squad the over the weekend.
Fajardo gave a good account of himself against taller American defenders in Gilas’ first tuneup match in Miami, scoring on several baskets in the paint off nifty passes by Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio during the second half to lead the national team’s back-breaking run.
The soft-spoken Gilas big man said the Gilas coach staff had one simple instruction to him during their first tuneup match in South Beach.
“Sabi nila (coaching staff), takbo lang daw ako sa paint tapos papasahan nila ako,” he said.
The former University of Cebu standout feels there’s a lot more ground to cover, particularly on the defensive end which Blatche has demonstrated during the training camp.
“Sa depensa, magaling din siya, active hands and footwork. Saka marami talaga akong natututunan sa training camp at sa kanya,” added the 24-year-old big man from Pinamungahan, Cebu.
Gilas wraps up training camp on Tuesday before beginning the trip to Vittoria, Spain for a series of tuneup matches in preparation for the 2012 Fiba World Cup.
The Philippines is returning to the world meet for the first time in 36 years, thanks to Gilas’ strong silver medal finish in last year’s Fiba-Asia men’s championships held in Manila.