FOR all his size and immense basketball skills, the biggest thing going for Petron rookie center June Mar Fajardo is that he is very coachable.
That's the opinion of Petron team consultant Todd Purves, who has seen the Cebuano slotman make giant strides from the time he played for the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL to his first season in the pro league.
“Obviously he’s (Fajardo) come a long way," said Purves, who led the Indonesia Warriors to the ABL championship last year at the expense of Fajardo and the San Miguel Beermen.
"I’m very proud of him individually as well, but he’s worked with some good coaches and he’s got some time with (Gilas) coach (Chot) Reyes in the national team. And it has benefited him,” Purves added.
Purves, who is in his first conference as consultant with Petron, said the 6-10 rookie has been able to absorb all the inputs from coaches and fellow players because of his admirable attitude.
So much so that the 41-year-old American said that reaching MVP status is no longer a question of if but when for the pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu.
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t (win the MVP in the future)," said Purves after Fajardo hit a career-high 26 points in the Game Two victory over Rain or Shine that put Petron on the verge of reaching the finals.
"Certainly, he has the potential to do it, but I don’t think June thinks in those terms either,” added the Memphis Grizzlies’ scout in Asia.
“I don’t think the MVP has crossed his mind, since he’s pretty focused on doing his job with the team. He doesn’t think about himself too often. But he’s just thinking about his teammates and doing the right thing.”
But being a nice guy, Fajardo's biggest challenge is on how to throw his weight around inside the paint, Purves said.
“He just needs to stay aggressive because he’s such a good person. You have to remind him sometimes to stay aggressive on the floor and make sure he brings the same mentality throughout the entire game,” he said.