June Mar Fajardo simply paying it forward when he gifted Kirkness with size 17 shoes
SMB star June Mar Fajardo meets Fil-Aussie prospect Ethan Kirkness for the first time at the sidelines of the Beermen's game against Rain or Shine. Gerry Ramos

JUNE Mar Fajardo sees a part of himself in Batang Gilas stalwart Ethan Kirkness that he lost no time providing the 6-foot-9 Fil-Australian a couple of his size 17 shoes.

The San Miguel Beer center said he knows how hard it is to find playing sneakers that would fit the 14-year-old Kirkness. And since they shared the same size, Fajardo deemed it best to give the young cager some of his playing shoes which he no longer use.

“Wala kasi siyang sapatos, nahihirapan siyang maghanap kasi size 17 siya,” said the three-time MVP as he was being taped prior to the San Miguel-Rain or Shine PBA Philippine Cup game Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Na-experience ko na yan dati, wala ring akong mahanap na sapatos,” added Fajardo, who, during his early years in basketball, used to get hand-me-down shoes from Danny Seigle which were brought to him to Cebu by provincemate Dondon Hontiveros.

[See Giant with a big heart: Fajardo gifts Fil-Aussie prospect Kirkness with size 17 shoes]

Kirkness is currently in the country along with father Michael for a six-week training that began during the holiday season.

Fajardo got wind of Kirkness' lack of shoes during the course of the training that he immediately sent a total of four pairs through the Smahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

“Hindi ko naman ginagamit ang mga yun, mga extra shoes ko yun,” said the 27-year-old Cebuano, who disclosed buying some of his shoes online.

“Yung isa nagamit ko na, pero isang beses lang,” he said. “Tsaka marami naman akong sapatos pa.”

Kirkness was so elated with Fajardo’s gesture he made a short video expressing thanks to the San Miguel star in Visayan dialect.

[See Fajardo recalls 'acts of kindness' from idol Dondon Hontiveros during his Cebu days]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos