JUNE Mar Fajardo already has everything that anyone can ask for in the PBA: multiple championships and individual awards, and one can’t help but keep wondering about how he would fare on basketball's bigger stage.
The San Miguel Beer cornerstone is poised for a record-breaking seventh Best Player of the Conference award in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup and a seventh league championship if he leads the Beermen past Ginebra in the Finals.
That, in the process, would solidify his bid for an unprecedented fifth MVP trophy at the end of the season.
So is it time for him to take on a bigger challenge abroad?
Ginebra coach Tim Cone revealed that he, in fact, had tried to get Fajardo a tryout in the NBA D-League (now G-League) in his first few years in the PBA through former PBA consultant and Dallas Mavericks scout Jim Kelly.
But Cone thought twice after considering Fajardo’s burgeoning local career.
“Jim was opening up a spot for June Mar and I thought June Mar might have got some, but there’s just too many things going on for June Mar here, so I’ve never spoke to him about it,” Cone said in an earlier interview initially about Johnny Abarrientos’ own NBA dream that nearly came to reality.
“I felt he could do very well in the NBA D-League and get himself a chance to get up to the NBA,” the Gin Kings coach added of Fajardo.
The pride of Pinamungajan, Cebu was simply flattered of Cone’s revelation.
“Syempre masaya ako na ganun yung tingin ni coach sa akin, so malaking respeto ko kay coach Tim kasi una ko pa lang sila nakalaban (sa finals nung)… sobrang taas ng respeto ko sa kanya.”
“Thank you dun sa sinabi niya,” the 28-year-old cager added.
Fajardo has no regrets that Cone didn’t mention it to him, but he would’ve welcomed the rare offer.
“Wala naman (panghihinayang), pero kung siguro natuloy, mas thankful ako, kasi iba na yun eh. Ibang level yun, ‘di ba?” Fajardo said.
“Pero, still, thankful pa din ako sa thoughts niya,” the University of Cebu product added.
Asked if thoughts of playing overseas run through his head, Fajardo didn’t deny it.
“Nag-iisip din,” the gentle 6-foot-10 giant said.
So while insisting he has yet to receive an offer to play aboard, Fajardo is still open to the possibility.
“Why not, ‘di ba?” he ended with a smile.