HE can already catch glimpses of June Mar Fajardo's full potential, but Petron coach Olsen Racela is not in a hurry to see the finished product of his prized big man’s game.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo showed why the Boosters made him the top pick of last year’s draft as he registered game-highs of 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds in just 25 minutes to lead his import-less team to an 87-79 victory over Rain or Shine in their out-of-town game last Saturday.
His double-double performance not only fueled the Boosters to a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead with their sixth win in eight games, but also earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honor.
Racela, though, is tempering expectations, believing the best is yet to come for the 23-year-old Cebuano behemoth.
“There’s no rush,” the rookie mentor said. “That's why you see him playing a lot of minutes in one game and hindi masyado in another game.”
“But he is steadily getting there," the former star point guard added of Fajardo, who’s averaging 10 points, anchored on 53.7 percent field-goal shooting, and 7.5 rebounds per game in the import-flavored conference.
That's why Fajardo’s dominant showing in the weekend didn’t surprise Racela.
"It's a testament to how hard he works. Even after practice he spends extra hours para ma-hone yung game niya. Iba talaga 'yung drive ni June Mar,” he said.
It also doesn't hurt that Fajardo has a very qualified tutor in two-time Most Valuable Player and longtime Petron star Danny Ildefonso.
"June Mar admittedly looks up to Danny I and who better to teach him than Danny I?" Racela said.
"Talagang binibigyan siya ni Danny I ng oras during and after practice, working on his post moves, and it's showing in his game. Before wala siyang jump hook, ngayon meron na. Kay Danny I iyun."
Another seasoned slotman in Dorian Pena, Racela said, also throws in his two cents' worth in helping Fajardo's game become better-rounded.
"Si Dorian ang tumutulong sa kanya on the defensive end, teaching him a few tricks here and there," Racela related.