June Mar Fajardo thrilled even more to team up with Standhardinger after smashing ABL debut
June Mar Fajardo was practicing with Gilas at the Big Dome as his SMB teammate Christian Standhardinger was having a smashing ABL debut at MOA Arena. Marlo Cueto

JUNE MAR Fajardo welcomes the expected help Christian Standhardinger will bring to San Miguel especially after the rookie big man showed what exactly he can during his debut for Hong Kong Eastern in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

Fajardo says impressive is an understatement for him as far as Standhardinger is concerned, who torched local team Alab Plipinas for 26 points and 14 rebounds, including the defending champions’ last four points in a thrilling 92-89 win Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Alam naman natin yung laro ni Christian. Alam naman natin kung ano yung puwede niyang maitulong sa amin,” said the 6-foot-11 Fajardo, who made history last season as the only player to win the MVP award four straight years.

Fajardo didn’t get to watch his promising teammate play his first official game on local soil as he was practicing with the Gilas Pilipinas team at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the time Standhardinger was wreaking havoc on Alab.

But the 27-year-old center out of University of Cebu was the least surprised with the kind of game his future backcourt partner dished off for the Lions.

“Nakita na rin naman natin siyang maglaro sa Gilas. Andun yung hustle niya, yung rebounding, tapos may opensa rin naman siya,” stressed Fajardo.

The Beermen netted the year’s top pick from KIA in a controversial trade that saw them give up role players Jay-R Reyes, Ronald Tubid, Rashawn McCarthy, and a 2019 first round pick to use the rights in selecting Standhardinger as the no. 1 selection in the draft.

Never did Fajardo imagine he’ll form a potent Twin Tower set-up with Standhardinger at San Miguel in a partnership that gives the Beermen a brute frontcourt.

“Wala. Hindi ko naisip yun,” was his curt reply.

The two played briefly together at Gilas Pilipinas during the last FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, where Fajardo saw at hand how Standhardinger plays.

“Sobrang mature niya na (as a player),” he said of the 28-year-old Fil-German.

By that, Fajardo said there’s no point teaching Standhardinger the intricacies of how things go in the PBA.

“Siya nga yung marami ng experience sa akin internationally. Siguro kung mas bata pa siya sa akin ng two years, baka may maituro pa ako sa kanya,” said ‘The Kraken.’

Still for the partnership to click, Fajardo said teamwork remains a necessity.

“Kung ano naman yung puwede kong maitulong sa kanya, tutulong naman ako. So communicate lang dapat,” said the San Miguel big man.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos