HIGHLY-touted June Mar Fajardo is set to become the star of the coming PBA Draft after the towering 6-foot-10 center formalized his entry into the August 19 event on Monday.
A mobile big man who has yet to reach his full potential, the former University of Cebu star player is projected to be a potential top pick owing to his size and talent.
Petron owns the right to this year’s no. 1 overall pick after acquiring it in a previous deal with Air21. The Express earlier beat out the Alaska Aces in a lottery held during halftime of Game One of the Governors Cup Finals.
The Boosters have their sights set on the Cebuano native, who suited up for the San Miguel Beermen that finished runner-up behind the Indonesia Warriors in the third season of the Asean Basketball League.
For a long time, Fajardo dominated the dynamic Cebu basketball landscape with his memorable one-on-one duels with another talented center in Greg Slaughter of rival University of the Visayas.
Fajardo, 22, emerged MVP of the Cesafi (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc) for successive seasons from 2009-2011. He was likewise a Mythical Team selection during that same playing year and was the 2010 National Collegiate Player of the Year awardee.
Before leaving college, Fajardo steered the Webmasters, under former Alaska gunner and now coach Rhoel Gomez, to back-to-back Cesafi championships, including a dramatic victory over Southwestern University Cobras in the decisive Game Five of the Finals last year when the dominant big man muscled his way to 23 points – including 12 in the fourth.
He once exploded for 50 points and 17 rebounds in a local tournament in Cebu (Reinforced Partners Cup) and scored 49 points and pounded the boards for 24 rebounds in the PCCL Sweet 16 Finals in Ormoc a few years back.
Fajardo is just the latest amateur superstars whose application for the Draft is among those highly-awaited. Joining him in the list are reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Abueva and San Sebastian teammate Ronald Pacsual. Still to apply for the Draft are former Smart Gilas stalwart Chris Tiu, last year’s UAAP Finals MVP Nico Salva, and ex-San Beda gunner Garvo Lanete.
Those who made themselves available for the Draft include former national players Aldrech Ramos, Chris Ellis, Cliff Hodge, PBA D-League MVP Vic Manuel, big men Jewel Ponferada and Dave Marcelo, Alex Mallari, and Charles Keith Jansen.
After Petron, Alaska will pick next followed by Barako Bull (also traded to Petron), Meralco, Petron (traded to Barako), Powerade (owned by Ginebra), Rain or Shine, Ginebra, B-Meg, and Talk `N Text (owned by Powerade).
Alaska now owns the No. 2 pick followed by Barako Bull, whose rights ironically, had also been traded to Petron previously, Meralco, Petron (traded to Barako), Powerade (owned by Ginebra), Rain or Shine, Ginebra, B-Meg, and Talk `N Text (owned by Powerade).