YOUNG Ethan Kirkness got a feel of Filipino hospitality from a giant with a big heart.
Now in the final two weeks of his training in Manila, the Fil-Aussie prodigy had the surprise of his life when San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo sent him a couple of his slightly used basketball sneakers.
Not just one but four of them.
The three-time PBA MVP made the gesture upon learning that he and the 14-year-old Kirkness wear the same size 17 shoes.
The Batang Gilas recruit was both surprised and touched by the gifts because he has yet to meet the 6-foot-10 Fajardo personally.
"Tuwang-tuwa yung bata dahil hindi pa naman niya na-meet talaga si June Mar," related Batang Gilas team manager Andrew Teh to SPIN.ph.
"Tapos akala niya isang pares lang ng sapatos, yun pala apat."
Fajardo had the sneakers brought to the office of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), which later passed them on to the 6-foot-9 Kirkness and his father Michael.
In return, the Fil-Aussie player made a short video expressing thanks to Fajardo in the Visayas dialect.
Watch the video:
He and his father also.plan to meet the former University of Cebu standout on Friday when the defending PBA Philippine Cup champion Beermen face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kirkness will fly back to Australia on January 21 after spending six weeks of training here in the country.
Fajardo is only paying it forward, having received hand-me-down shoes from Danny Seigle during his college days at UC courtesy of idol and provincemate Dondon Hontiveros.
As an upcoming college player, the SMB star slotman also used to be gifted with Size 17 shoes by former PBA player Rey Yncierto, who is now based in the US.