Philippine basketball

June Mar Fajardo in awe of journey from late bloomer to 7-time PBA MVP

Delfin Dioquino

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June Mar Fajardo in awe of journey from late bloomer to 7-time PBA MVP

ANOTHER ONE. June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen receives his seventh PBA MVP award.

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San Miguel ace June Mar Fajardo looks back on his journey as a teenager who only pursued basketball in order to earn a collegiate scholarship

MANILA, Philippines – Even June Mar Fajardo is in awe of his unprecedented transformation from a teenager who barely knew how to play basketball to a seven-time PBA MVP.

Fajardo won a record-extending seventh MVP plum and bannered the First Mythical and All-Defensive Teams on Sunday, November 5, reclaiming his status as the best player in the PBA after a career-derailing shin injury.

It was a routine haul of awards for the San Miguel ace, but Fajardo admitted that never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would become a hoops star.

“I only pursued basketball in college to get a scholarship. When I entered college, I still did not know how to play. I did not even know the rules,” the soft-spoken Fajardo, who attended the University of Cebu (UC), said in Filipino.

“But I had the willingness to learn.”

At UC, Fajardo won three straight MVP awards in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. and steered the Webmasters to back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011.

Fajardo emerged as the top pick in the 2012 PBA Draft and immediately made an impact in his first year as he made the All-Rookie Team and the Second Mythical Team.

His PBA career took off starting his sophomore season, with Fajardo earning six consecutive MVP honors from 2014 to 2019 on top of a record nine Best Player of the Conference awards and four Finals MVP plums.

Although a late bloomer, the unassuming big man from Pinamungajan, Cebu, has turned into one of the most beloved Filipino players.

“I never expected that I’ll reach this far in basketball,” said Fajardo, crediting his former UC coach Roel Gomez for guiding him.

“When I was still studying at UC, nobody paid me any attention when I walked along the hallway. Now, when I go there, I get mobbed by the people.”

In contention for the title as the greatest PBA player of all time, Fajardo said he remains grounded as he looks to win more championships with the Beermen.

“I’ve come so far in basketball. I’m proud of myself for the things that I’ve achieved,” said Fajardo. “But I never let the awards get into my head. I just keep them in my heart.” –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.