Billiards’ loss

....is basketball’s mammoth gain

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Cebuano behemoth June Mar Fajardo may be the toast of the town these days but had he not gone to the University of Cebu for his college studies, he just might have ended up as the country’s tallest billiards player.

This was according to June Mar’s father Bonifacio, who along with his wife Marites, could not be any prouder of their son.

The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, in his first season as the slotman for the Petron Blaze Boosters, has established himself as a dominant force inside the paint, earning for himself the tag “the future of Philippine basketball.”

However, it could have been an entirely different story as the elder Fajardo was hesitant to allow his son to play the game at their hometown in Pinamungahan for fear of his son getting hurt.

“Wala man na nako paduwaa atong bata pa na siya kay hadlok ko na mapiang unya ba,” Bonifacio said. “Magduwa man sad ko pero wala jud nako na siya pa-apila kay mas physical man akong mga kaduwa.”

Bonifacio accompanied June Mar during a thanksgiving lunch Wednesday at the residence of Atty. Baldomero Estenzo.

TOO BIG FOR HIS PEERS

In fact, basketball was far from Fajardo’s mind as his playing opportunities were limited at best, added his father. “Wala jud na siyay hilig sa basketball sauna kay dili man siya kaduwa kontra sa iyang mga ka-edad kay dako ra man kaayo sad siya. Igo ra na siya mag-tindog ug mag-itsa-itsa.”

But being the precocious kid that Fajardo was, he found ways to keep his competitive fire burning by dabbling in billiards during his high school days. “Kung magdula na siya sauna, dili na gud nila kailangan ug triangle para i-set up ang mga bola. Kamot ra niya ang gamiton,” narrated Bonifacio with a smile.

But being 6-foot-9 at the time, it wasn’t long before Fajardo was set on a path towards basketball. It was then that he came to Cebu with his father to search for a school that is willing to give him a shot. They first went to the University of Southern Philippines Foundation before they ended up at UC.

The elder Fajardo looks back on those days with a twinge of nostalgia as he remembers the struggles that they had to go through before June Mar made it.

“Grabe ang kalisud jud atong mga panahona. Naundang kog trabaho ato kay kailangan man jud nako kuyogan akong anak diri sa Cebu kay dili man siya sweto diri gud.”

Those days are long over for the Fajardo family as June Mar has gone on to forge a lucrative career as one of the main men of the PBA. Still, being the doting father that he is, Bonifacio cannot help but become nervous everytime his son takes the floor.

“Kuyawan jud gihapon ko kay siyempre, lahi na man gud nang PBA. Ako lang jud na siya ingnon pirmi na mag-amping siya sa iyang lawas ug dili makalimot na magpasalamat sa Ginoo,” Bonifacio added.

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