UNBELIEVABLE as it sounds, San Miguel's 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo, and Sisi Rondina - Petron's 5-foot-6 dynamo in the PSL - are relatives.
"Oo," Rondina answered when asked about her blood relationship with the PBA's six-time MVP during The Prospects Pod. "Malayo pero pinsan namin siya. Pinsan ko siya."
Stars in their respective sports, Fajardo and Rondina's kinship goes beyond being both from Cebu. But both struggled to explain the blood relation.
Rondina, the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball MVP, looked back at that moment when she found out about her personal connection with this gentle giant.
"Meron akong pinsan na Rondina na tiga-dito din (sa Compostela), tapos si Kuya June Mar umuwi dito," the former UST Golden Tigress spiker recalled.
"Sabi ko, 'Pinsan niyo ba yan?' Sagot nila, 'Oo, pinsan natin yan.' Nasagot ko lang, 'Ay weh?' Ganoon. Pero malayo siguro."
Fajardo corroborated Rondina's story and shared that he does go to Compostela to visit old relatives whenever he gets a chance.
"Pumupunta ako doon pag may time pero hindi madalas. Doon nakatira yung pinsan ng pinsan ko, yung name niya Boboy Rondina," he said.
Compostela is a four-hour ride away from Fajardo's hometown of Pinamungajan, but he treasures those rare opportunities to retrace his roots on his mother Marites' side.
It wasn't until the two were already in Manila when they had a chance to personally catch up.
"Nag-meet kami sa guesting dito. Nung nakita ko siya, sabi ko, 'Hi po.' Tapos binisaya niya ako," said Rondina, a mainstay of the Philippine women's beach volleyball team and winner of a bronze medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December.
"Doon ko naisip na, 'Ah, oo nga. Pinsan ko nga siya,' kasi ok nga yung pagpansin niya sa akin," the powerhouse outside hitter added.
Fajardo is proud that he and his cousin have both made it big in the Big City.
"Masaya kami na inabot namin kung nasaan kami ngayon. Kita niyo naman yung pinanggalingan namin. Parehas kaming galing Cebu, hindi naman kami kilala," said the Gilas Pilipinas mainstay.
Fajardo is hoping their success stories will serve an inspiration not just to their fellow Cebuanos, but also to the other probinsyanos dreaming of making it big.
"Masaya ako kasi kahit paano, nagiging inspiration kami para sa mga kababayan namin."