EVEN though June Mar Fajardo hardly saw action for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia championships, Japeth Aguilar had seen enough in practice to know that the Petron big man was ready to break out of his shell.
“’Yung mga players, makikita mo ‘yung potential nila and ever since, kita mo na talaga ‘yung potential niya with his size and his moves,” said Aguilar of his former teammate in the national team.
True enough, the 6-10 Fajardo made is star turn after his Gilas stint - a force so formidable which Aguilar and his Barangay Ginebra teammates will have to contend with in a highly anticipated game on Christmas Day.
They Said It!
“(June Mar Fajardo) is the biggest player in the league right now." - Barangay Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar
The gentle giant has become so good, in fact, that Aguilar feels Fajardo is now the most dominant player in the pro league.
“Inasahan ko na talaga ‘yun (gagaling siya). Ngayon, talagang pinapakita na niya ‘yung potential niya. He is the biggest player in the league right now,” said Aguilar.
“Nakikita mo ‘yung strides na ginagawa niya. Consistency-wise, ginagawa niya. Tapos ‘yung strength talaga niya is rebounding,” he added.
However, Aguilar is not doing too bad himself. The high-leaping big man has in fact sparked talks of an MVP year this early as he, game after game, stood out for Ginebra in partnership with top rookie pick Greg Slaughter.
Aguilar admits the showdown against Petron has a little more importance than the rest of their games.
“Every game for us is important pero ‘yung game namin sa Petron, sila na lang kasi 'yung hindi namin nakakalaban tapos nasa taas pa sila ng standings,” said Aguilar.
He also knows the Petron game will be a good yardstick on how far Ginebra has come as a team this season.
“It’s a gauge for us," the Ginebra star said. "It’s going to be a tough match-up. Kailangan everyone in the team is ready.”