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    After being mentored by Ildefonso and Fernandez, Fajardo more than willing to help out rookie AVO

    Oct 30, 2016
    Arnold Van Opstal with SMB players, coaches and officials during the PBA draft. Jerome Ascano

    HOW time easily flies.

    Just four seasons after being hailed as the top rookie pick of the 2012 PBA Draft, big man June Mar Fajardo now finds himself serving as mentor to incoming rookie Arnold Van Opstal.

    The former La Salle center was tabbed by the Beermen in the special draft among national team members during the league’s annual rookie draft at the Robinson’s Place in Manila on Sunday.

    Obviously, the move was designed to make the 6-foot-9 former La Salle center a back-up to three-time MVP Fajardo, who said he’s more than willing to take Van Opstal under his wings.

    “Siyempre dumaan din ako sa pagiging rookie and alam ko na malaking adjustment din ito para sa kanya,” he said, his eyes locked on the rookie center who sat just a few seats across him at the San Miguel Beer table during the draft at Robinsons Midtown mall in Ermita, Manila.

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    “Pero andito kami at tutulungan namin siya.”

    [See Belo to Blackwater, Jalalon to Star, Ferrer to Ginebra in PBA draft for Gilas cadets]

    The 6-foot-11 Cebuano center was also lucky to have someone guiding him in his early years in two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso at San Miguel and four-time MVP Mon Fernandez during his days at University of Cebu.

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    In so short a time, Fajardo has developed in a potent frontcourt weapon now considered as the best big man in the league.

    Only recently, he made a record as the only PBA player in history to win the MVP award in three straight seasons.

    Now it’s his time to train someone under him.

    “Willing akong turuan siya,” said the 26-year-old Fajardo. “Pero parang kailan lang ako yung nandito.”

    The former University of Cebu star player said he hasn’t played with Van Opstal yet, but definitely likes what he sees in the rookie player in the few times he was able to watch him.

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    “May hustle, may rebound, at may shooting din naman,” he said of Van Opstal. “Kailangan lang din namin siyang tulungan lalo na yung mag-adjust sa laro ng PBA.”

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    Arnold Van Opstal with SMB players, coaches and officials during the PBA draft. Jerome Ascano
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