By Val Marvin Macanas
After quite sometime we will once again have a super player coming from the University of Cebu (UC). We all know that Don Don Hontiveros came from UC and now it is the turn of Junemar Fajardo to make the Cebuano basketball fans proud. With his 6'9 height, basketball critics are saying that he will just end up to be like Sam Eman, but I beg to disagree with them. This guy earned the respect of the PBA scouts after his successfull stint in the University of Cebu Webmasters squad and with the San Miguel Beermen of the Asean Basketball League.
Fajardo led UC to numerous Championships in the Visayan Region. He even played against the 7 footer Greg Slaughter when the latter was still playing for the University of Visayas Lancers. They also went up against each other in the Philippine Colegiate Champions League (PCCL)- the Philippines' version of US NCAA wherein top teams from all over the Philippines slug it out for the right to be hailed as the National Champions. Fajardo and Slaughter met numerous times although UC never scored a win against Slaughter and the rest of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Slaughter was definitely a good test for Junemar and that experience of going against each other would be very vital as he starts his journey towards becoming a good PBA big man.
During those precious moments when Junemar and the rest of the UC Webmasters played against the top teams in Metro Manila such as Ateneo, San Beda, San Sebastian and De La Salle proved the he can compete against the best of the best amateur big men in the college ranks. He showed not only his rebounding skills and his defensive skills, but also his Tim Duncan like bankers and hook shots. Yeah, he can score both from inside the shaded lane and the perimeter. Just like the Big Fundamental, he has a nice soft touch from the perimeter.
You probably didn't see the whole package of his game in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) because of the limited playing time that he had due to the abundance of imports in his team, but I'm assuring you that he can score and do so many things on the court based on what I saw in the PCCL. So, to those who were not impressed with his performance in the ABL, think again.
Here's a little PBA Draft 2012 Recap of Picks Round 1: number 1-10. Number 1 Pick of Petron: Junemar Fajardo, Number 2 Pick of Alaska: Calvin Abueva, Number 3 Pick of Petron: Alex Mallari, Number 4 Pick of Meralco: Cliff Hodge, Number 5 Pick of Barako Bull: Aldrech Ramos, Number 6 Pick of Ginebra: Chris Ellis, Number 7 Pick of Rain or Shine: Chris Tiu, Number 8 Pick of Ginebra: Keith Jensen, Number 9 Pick of Global Port (From B-Meg): Vic Manuel, and Number 10 Pick of Global Port: Jason Deutchmann.