SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
#15 / / C
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June Mar Fajardo (born November 17, 1989 in Pinamungajan, Cebu) is a Filipino professional basketball player who currently plays center for the San Miguel Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association. Born in Compostela, he transferred with his parents to Pinamungajan at an early age, where he spent most of his younger and teen years. He played center for the University of Cebu Webmasters in the CESAFI and for the San Miguel Beermen in the ASEAN Basketball League before being selected as the first overall in the 2012 PBA draft by Petron Blaze Boosters. Despite his young age, Fajardo showed great potential and has been dubbed by local sports analysts as the Future of Philippine basketball. During his rookie season, he earned a silver medal playing Men's basketball at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship for Team Philippines. He was also selected to the All-Rookie Team and Second Mythical Team. He is known as The Kraken. Rookie year Petron Blaze Boosters He made his debut against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Fajardo struggled in the first two conferences in his rookie year. However, in the semifinals of the third conference, Fajardo carried his team against Rain or Shine, scoring a career 26 points in Game 2, outplaying the veteran big men of Rain or Shine's Beau Belga and J.R. Quiñahan. They eventually won the best of 5 series in 3-1. Fajardo's Petron faced the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers on the 2013 PBA Governors' Cup Finals; this is where Fajardo was now known as the most dominant big man to play in the PBA since Asi Taulava. Fajardo dominated every big men of the San Mig Coffe Mixers, outplaying Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and Yancy De Ocampo. In one game, Fajardo scored 23 points and grabbed a career high 26 rebounds. This was the first time a player in the PBA achieved a 20-20 game since Asi Taulava and Eric Menk. However, his team fell short and San Mig Coffee Mixers eventually won in Game 7. He finished the 2013 PBA Governors' Cup Finals with an average of 18.75 points and 14.50 rebounds. Sophomore Year Petron Blaze Boosters / San Miguel Beermen As expected by many, Fajardo continued his dominance under the paint, averaging double-figures all throughout the 2013-14 PBA Philippine Cup conference. He put together norms of 15.1 points, 15.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.5 blocks in the first 11 games with the Blaze Boosters. With his monstrous efforts, Boosters were able to enter the quarterfinals, facing off Barako Bull Energy. However, when they entered the semifinals, despite his Kraken-like efforts, the team was outplayed by Rain or Shine Elasto Painters led by Extra Rice Inc. tandem Beau Belga and JR Quiñahan, where they lost the series in 5 games (4-1). Despite of this, he was still awarded as the Best Player of the Conference. When Petron reverted to San Miguel Beermen, Fajardo change his Number 22 to Number 15, the following conference was followed by disappointment as the Beermen fell short in the quarter finals after losing to Air 21 despite having a twice-to-beat advantage in the series. In the third conference, Fajardo was a man on a mission. He normed 20 and 15 the entire conference. On June 3, 2014 Fajardo scored 26 points and grabbed 27 rebounds, marking his 3rd career 20-20 game; his 27 rebounds were 2 shy of a PBA Record. He finished the conference with averages of 21.2 points, 15.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks despite losing to San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in the quarterfinals. Despite not being successful as a whole team for his sophomore season, Fajardo was still able to end it on a positive note by raking several awards. He was awarded as the 2014 PBA Most Improved Player, one of the members of the PBA All Defensive team and the PBA Mythical First Team, and finally as the 2014 PBA Most Valuable Player. Second MVP reign International career Fajardo was chosen to be part of the Smart Gilas 2.0 team, later known as Gilas Pilipinas, that was built for the 2014 World Championships. After months of training that includes trips and scrimmages to Lithuania and New Zealand, Fajardo was included in the final 12-man lineup that would compete in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, the qualifier for the 2014 World Championships. In his first game in international competition, Fajardo scored 2 points, grabbed 2 rebounds, and was called for 4 personal fouls in less than 9 minutes of action against Saudi Arabia. He then only scored a total of 1 point in his next 6 games. Ultimately, Gilas Pilipinas finished with a silver medal and automatically qualified for next year's World Championships. When the Gilas Pilipinas prepared for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, he was again called up to be part of the training pool. He was also part of the Gilas team which played in Wuhan, China for the 5th FIBA Asia Cup. The team won the Bronze medal. However, he was almost a non factor as he was still adjusting to the international game and style of play. After the FIBA Asia Cup, the Gilas Training Pool headed to Miami to kick start their long preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2014 Asian Games. The Gilas team played several tune up games in Miami against Pro Am teams. Clearly it was observed by many that he was still struggling but showed some good signs during their first tune up match. After the training camp in Miami, the Gilas Training Pool then travelled to Europe to continue the workouts. There they also participated in several friendly matches in Spain against an All star team composed of several players from the Spanish basketball league. From there the team went to Antibes, France wherein they were playing against several nationals teams such as France, Australia,and Ukraine. After the pocket tournament in France, the team travelled back to Spain and continued on having friendly matches against Basque Euskadi and against Angola. Since the Antibes games, he was rarely used due to poor performance when he was inserted into the game; there was also once instance wherein it was caught on video that he was being scolded by National team Coach Chot Reyes and being lessoned by Team Consultant Tab Baldwin. On the last two friendly matches of Gilas, finally Fajardo has showed signs of improvement. Against the Egypt National Team, Andray Blatche was performing bad, and so he had the chance to step up and provided the inside presence for the team. Team Manager Aboy Castro was quoted saying June Mar gave us the effort and the production while Andray was on the bench, he played the game of his life. An improvement in his game was noticed, in terms of hustle, assertiveness and even his mid range shooting. Against Dominican Republic, it was the same situation for him wherein he was showing good signs of improvement in terms of playing international ball. During his stint in the recent FIBA World Cup, Fajardo was very consistent in his performance, providing energy and hustle everytime he comes off the bench. It was expected by many that he will struggle on playing against other bigs from Croatia, Greece, and Argentina, but he exceeded this negative expectations and provided good numbers everytime he relieves Blatche. Due to his good performance, he was ranked second among all players in terms of Player Efficiency Rating (PER). With this rating, he was behind the Spanish NBA Player Pau Gasol, and other players with high PER rating are all NBA players. Due to his good performance, everyone was asking why he was playing limited minutes coming off the bench, and when he was interviewed, he said that he trusts the coach and he knows that the coach has plans. Everyone's wish was granted on the team's last game against Senegal. Most of the players were fatigued and injured, and expectedly Fajardo played his best game of the tournament. Against this team, he had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists as he provided hustle and muscle against the big men of Senegal wherein it came to a point that Senegal could not make any rebounds. His great performance was even highlighted when Andray Blatche was fouled out in the overtime period. The game was tied at 69, and a high low play allowed him to score and give the Gilas team the lead. Eventually under the efforts of June Mar and team captain Jimmy Alapag, they won the game, ending their stint at the FIBA World Cup 2014. Coach Chot Reyes also bared that June Mar was part of the lineup which competed in the 2014 Incheon, Korea Asian Games.