IT no longer surprised potential top rookie pick Greg Slaughter that fellow big man June Mar Fajardo is slowly emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Slaughter himself had seen it long before everyone had taken notice.
“We’re still young and I’m not surprised with his improvement. I mean, when I first saw him in Cebu, I knew he had some talent, something special about him,” admitted the seven-foot former Ateneo stalwart.
Slaughter and Fajardo go a long way back, having been rivals in the Cebu Schools Athletics Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) while playing for the University of the Visayas and University of Cebu, respectively.
They Said It!
“I’m not surprised with (Fajardo's) improvement... when I first saw him in Cebu, I knew he had some talent, something special about him." - Former Ateneo center and incoming PBA draft pick Greg Slaughter
But Slaughter eventually moved to Ateneo and played in two of the Blue Eagles’ five straight UAAP men’s championship.
Fajardo stayed on at UC and powered the school to the Cesafi title in 2011. He later suited up for San Miguel Beer in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) where the Beermen finished runner-up against the Indonesia Warriors in the 2012 Finals.
The 6-foot-10 Cebuano eventually ended up as last year’s top overall draft pick by Petron and readily showed what he can do by averaging a career-best 18.7 points and 14.7 rebounds in the PBA Governors Cup Finals where the Boosters lost to San Mig Coffee Mixers in seven games.
Slaughter was quick to notice Fajardo’s improvement which he attributed to the Petron big man’s admirable attitude and zest to learn.
“He’s (Fajardo) very good because he’s been working really hard since he moved to the pros,” Slaughter told Spin.ph shortly after taking part in Monday’s Rookie biometrics measurements at the Gatorade Hoops Center
in Mandaluyong as part of the pre-draft event of the league.
Slaughter lauded Fajardo for continuing to learn the game despite the status he has achieved in so short a time as a pro.
“That’s (improving) our job now. The only thing we need to do is get better,” said Slaughter, tipped to emerge as the top overall pick in Sunday's rookie draft by Barangay Ginebra.