There’s something about having great big men to anchor franchises on both ends of the floor. On offense, they’re hard to stop, with their deep bag of tricks driving defenses nuts. The perception for great defensive big men has been centered on intimidating blocks and grabbing a ton of rebounds, but simply altering shots by the virtue of their presence is a skill in itself.

A description like the one above certainly fits a Filipino big man that has been the best player of his generation, or perhaps even the best the PBA has had thus far: June Mar Fajardo.

With no imports in the Philippine Cup, it’s usually a feast for Fajardo and that was on full display when the San Miguel Beermen took on the NLEX Road Warriors.

The Road Warriors were the latest team hoping to end the Beermen’s unbeaten run in the 2024 Honda PBA Philippine Cup, but Fajardo towered over them in a 120-103 SMB victory. A peek at the highlights made it seem like he was toying with his defenders and with a 20-point, 21-rebound effort, you wouldn’t be faulted for assuming such. The trust from the nine-time PBA All-Star’s teammates was also evident, because when they needed a basket, they knew they only needed to give it to Fajardo, who has helped extend San Miguel’s flawless run in the All-Filipino Conference and handed the Beermen the top seed with two games to spare.


Fajardo can make things look easy but that is also the product of hard work he put in during practices and in the offseason. Defenders can only try and their best efforts at times tend to be futile. There are detractors who have said that the Philippine Cup was made for Fajardo, but the All-Filipino Conference has been there since time immemorial. The seven-time PBA MVP has simply made the most of his circumstances and if anything, we should be happy to see a Filipino center above 6-6 finally making the most out of his gifts.

In recent years, though, Fajardo has suffered a number of major and/or freak injuries such as sustaining fractures to his right tibia, hand, and larynx, as well as an MCL tear. Recovering from those medical issues wasn’t easy, but he has managed to return to form and even represent the Philippines in various national competitions. That he has also continued to win PBA MVPs despite those setbacks shows that the 34-year old’s game has aged well.

The San Miguel Beermen’s bid for a mini grand slam is alive and well thanks in part to June Mar Fajardo. Fajardo could very well add a record-extending eighth PBA MVP award at the end of the season, but that will only be icing on the cake that is an 11th PBA championship.