BASKETBALL legend Mon Fernandez said June Mar Fajardo has the potential to surpass, even double, his record of four PBA Most Valuable Player awards.
Fernandez said he already saw the boundless potential of the 6-10 Fajardo since his college days at University of Cebu, where he briefly mentored the then raw Cebuano big man.
Right there, Don Ramon said he knew Fajardo was 'the one.'
“When I (first) saw him (in his) second year in college, (I thought to myself,) 'This is the guy,'” Fernandez, now a commissioner at the Philippine Sports Commission, said.
Fernandez is one of only two PBA players - the other is Alvin Patrimonio - to win the MVP award four times, winning his last one with Fajardo's own team, San Miguel, when he was 35.
Fajardo, on the other hand, already has three MVPs at age 27 and is on track to become the first player in the pro league's 42-year history to win the PBA's highest individual honor four successive times.
None of that surprises Fernandez.
“As I said in the very first year ni June Mar (sa PBA), I already said that in the next 10 years, barring any physical injury, he is going to dominate the PBA.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets eight MVPs and breaks several records in the PBA,” the cage legend added.
Fernandez, a product of University of San Carlos, said Fajardo hasn't even reached his full potential, noting that the SMB big man used to have a hook shot in his arsenal which he could shoot with either hand.
That shot could come in handy for Fajardo in international competition, or when he grows older in the PBA, Fernandez said.
“May secret weapon siya na hindi niya ginagamit. Magaling siya mag-hook shot, left and right, nung nasa Cebu siya," said Fernandez, who became known for his own 'elegant shot.'
"Maybe hindi niya ginagamit ‘yun kasi maliliit ang kalaban niya. Pero sabi ko sa kanya noon, kailangan niya ‘yun sa PBA at sa international competition. Up to now, hindi pa niya (ginagamit) pero in due time.
“Siguro kapag nahihirapan na siyang gumawa ng 15, 20, 25 points, baka gamitin na niya later on para may maitatago pa siya,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez expects the Beermen to dominate in the years to come with cornerstone Fajardo surrounded by a supporting cast led by Arwind Santos, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot.
“They will continue to dominate as long as they stay healthy,” he said.