Legend at other end of GOAT debate says Fajardo isn’t done yet

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Chris Ross snuck into the frame of a TV interview of June Mar Fajardo and with just a few words, reignited the debate on whether the seven-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) has reached peerless level in Philippine basketball.

“He’s the GOAT (Greatest of All Time),” Ross said as he interrupted the Fajardo interview amid confetti and revelry. “He’s the GOAT!”

After Game 6 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Finals at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, the San Miguel Beer star may have answered that question.

Fajardo finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Beermen hammered out a 104-102 victory to close out the Magnolia Hotshots and clinch their record 29th franchise title. The guy on the other end of the GOAT debate feels that while such conversation is great for the fans of basketball, the one thing that should be in the spotlight for now is that Fajardo isn’t done yet.

“He’s dominating, he’s talented, he’s hardworking, he’s very humble and he’s coachable,” PBA legend Ramon Fernandez told the Inquirer on late Thursday evening.

“There’s so much he still can do. He had a few training sessions with me and even then, I already predicted he would have seven, eight or maybe even more MVPs. Believe me, he’s not done yet. If he stays injury-free and keeps himself in good shape, he doesn’t bulk up, he can dominate for five to seven years more.”

“He’s showing a perimeter game lately and if he develops that, adds a consistent three-point shot, can you imagine?”

Fernandez is a 19-time champion and four-time MVP and currently is the all-time leader in most points scored (18,996), rebounds (8,652) and blocks (1,853). To underscore his versatility, the 6-foot-4 legend finished his career as No. 2 overall in assists (5,220) and steals (1,302—which led the league when he retired).

Most notably, Fernandez averaged 27 points, 15 rebounds and 9.9 assists in 1984, finishing that year just five assists short of a triple-double season.

Playing through pain

According to Ross, Fajardo’s work ethic helps boost his status as one of the league’s best. “This dude isn’t even supposed to be playing. I’m in the coaches’ group chat and the doctors told me he shouldn’t be playing and he said, ‘no, I’m playing,’” Ross said.

Fajardo played through a sore calf muscle in Game 6.

Simon Enciso, who was instrumental for San Miguel in breaking the series’ 2-2 deadlock, echoed Ross’ sentiments.

“Hell, yeah. We don’t get here without June Mar,” said Enciso. “Whether it’s in practice, in the game or outside the court, he plays a huge part and when one wins, we all win.”

Coach Jorge Gallent, when asked for his thoughts on the University of Cebu product being the very best in the PBA, said: “Definitely [he is.] He has the most MVPs, he has seven and he’s won 10 championships. I think, in my own opinion, he’s achieved a lot to get that title.”



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Perhaps the only one not feeding that narrative is Fajardo himself.

Asked to comment on his team’s view of his legacy, Fajardo smiled and said “Oh, no, no.”





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