EASL chief expects big things from June Mar Fajardo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 23 2021 05:27 PM

San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo scores against Blackwater in the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup. PBA Media Bureau
San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo scores against Blackwater in the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- There is no doubt that San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo will be able to hold his own, should the Beermen compete in the East Asia Super League (EASL).

This, according to EASL co-founder and chief executive Matt Beyer, who has seen Fajardo play in person before and is confident that the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player can extend his dominance to the regional league.

"The players in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association), the American players are extremely high level. But I think June Mar would be fine, pretty much against any high-level Euro League, and quite a lot of NBA big men as well," said Beyer.

Beyer is intimately familiar with the CBA, having once been the top representative of Chinese imports in the league as well as a former interpreter of Chinese player Yi Jianlian in the NBA.

"I have a lot of respect for him," Beyer said of Fajardo. "I can see why he's sort of the crown jewel of the PBA."

The PBA officially joined the EASL early this month, along with other top leagues in Asia including the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and Japan's B League.

The EASL will launch its home-and-away tournament in October 2022 where the top ball clubs of the PBA, the Japan B League, KBL, P.LEAGUE+, and the Bay Area Chun Yu Phoenixes of Hong Kong will vie for the $1-million champion prize money.

San Miguel competed in the EASL in 2019 as one of three PBA representatives in the Terrific 12, but Fajardo didn't suit up as he was nursing an injury. 

Behind Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, and import Dez Wells, the Beermen reached the semis but lost to eventual champions Liaoning Flying Leopards, a team bannered by former NBA player Lance Stephenson. 

Fajardo and the Beermen currently have a 2-2 win-loss record in the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup, with the big man averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest.