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‘The Kraken’ embraces ‘Big Brother’ role to Gilas Cadets

By Ernest Hernandez

June Mar Fajardo

June Mar Fajardo

Coming off from a win against TNT KaTropa in Iloilo city, June Mar Fajardo reported for the first time to Gilas Pilipinas for 2018.

“Masaya ako na nakapag-practice uli ako ngayon. Medyo light, kasi wala si Coach Chot. Hopefully next practice, kumpleto kaming lahat,” said Fajardo.

Upon seeing the new Gilas cadet players competing for a possible slot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Fajardo expressed willingness to be their mentor.

“Noong rookie ako, thankful ako sa mga kuya ko ditto na tinuturuan at gina-guide ako,” recalls Fajardo.

“Ngayon, time na naming na i-guide yung mga bata. Kung ano ang pwede naming ituro at i-guide sa kanila, gagawin namin,” he added.

It will be recalled that Fajardo was one of the players in the national team during the 2013 FIBA Asia Tournament held here in Manila. Seeing limited minutes, Fajardo was guided by players like Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Jimmy Alapag.

One year later, Fajardo blossomed bagged the PBA MVP award for four consecutive years. Since then, he has become a staple in the Gilas roster.

Paying it forward, Fajardo now transitions to the ‘kuya’ role for the team.

“Sila na yung future ng Gilas. Ipag-pray na lang natin na healthy kami at mga bata pagdating sa 2023. Magtutulungan kami para sa game na yun,“ said the Kraken.

Fajardo is also excited to play together with the Gilas Cadets and bond with them moving forward.

“Lahat, kasi yung mga nabanggit naman, yun yung mga stars ng high school and college. Nais kong makasama sila,” he said.

His heir apparent is expected to be 7-footer Kai Sotto. The 15-year-old Ateneo Blue Eagle is the player he is most excited to take under his wing.

“Na-meet ko lang siya. Matangkad na sa akin ngayon,” Fajardo said.“Excited na akong makasama siya.”

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