[Editor's note: Here is the sixth installment of Spin.ph's WAGS [Wives and Girlfriends] series]
JUNE Mar Fajardo, the reigning and back-to-back MVP of the PBA, is close to unstoppable on the basketball court. But off the court, one woman might have done the impossible.
In a short chat with the former Ateneo Lady Eagle after one of SMB’s games, Fajardo’s girlfriend Aerieal Patnongon, tongue in cheek, of course, shared to Spin.ph who’s the real MVP between the two of them.
“Dapat lang matuto siya kumilala ng boss. Hindi porke MVP siya sa PBA eh dominante na siya. Walang MVP-MVP sa akin. Ako ang MVP, hindi pwede siya,” said Patnongon in between giggles.
The supportive girlfriend, who’s always present during SMB games, shared how their relationship started, which should also help explain why the PBA's most dominant player transforms into a tender, loving boyfriend when it’s just the two of them.
“Hindi ko kasi alam na basketball player siya [noon]. Nakilala ko lang siya as June Mar Fajardo, as simpleng tao lang,” she revealed. “Roller coaster ride [ang relationship namin] pero super fun lalo he’s super sweet. Kahit mukha siyang higante, super sweet siya [na] opposite ng nasa court siya. Pag kami lang makulit siya, sweet siya.”
Nine months into their relationship, Patnongon said the Cebuano native never changed since the first day she met him.
“Hindi ko naramdaman na sikat siya, kahit [hanggang] ngayon. Wala lang, normal lang. After the game, hindi niya pinaparamdam na, 'Basketball player ako.' Sobrang down to earth, sobrang bait, sobrang funny (pero) corny ang jokes niya, tinatawanan ko na lang,” she added.
And although their courtship was done the traditional way, Patnongon shared that their time together is spent in ways that are anything but typical.
“Typical Filipino way ang panliligaw niya sa akin. Pinupuntahan ako sa Ateneo sa Katipuan [tapos] we have lunch or breakfast together,” she added. “Ma-joke kasi siya. Minsan kulitan namin magsasapakan kami pero lambing lang. Pag medyo masakit ang hampas niya, magso-sorry na siya magha-hug na siya agad.”
It’s not all fun and games for the happy couple, especially when Fajardo is coming off a tough loss, but Patnongon knows how to handle her partner’s delicate times as she draws from her own experience as an athlete.
Patnongon, who played for University of Santo Tomas girls’ volleyball team before she transferred to Ateneo, shared how she feels nervous every time she’s at the venue watching Fajardo’s games.
“Ngayon na ako na ang cheerer parang mas kinakabahan pa ako sa game niya kaysa sa sarili kong game,” she said. “Parang every game na lang parang championship so nakakakaba.
"Ang weird lang pero ang sarap sa feeling lalo na pag nananalo sila. Pag talo sila affected rin ako kasi you really gave your all tapos matatalo ka lang. Nakaka-relate rin ako kasi I was once an athlete.
“Kapag natatalo siya, I know how to comfort him. I let him [talk about it] first pero ‘yung comfort, iha-hug ko siya (and I’ll tell him), 'Babe, ok lang ‘yan.' If he needs time kung gusto niya mapag-isa for the night, hinahayaan ko naman siya,” she added.
But despite anything, a tough loss or their busy schedules, the self-proclaimed ‘boss’ of the MVP puts her foot down on one thing that she says is non-negotiable in their relationship.
“Sundays are our day. Every Sunday we go to mass and spend time together,” she said.