Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) head coach Yeng Guiao, one of the most esteemed coaches in the country, believes there’s no player who can challenge June Mar Fajardo toe to toe in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) at this point in time.
As the San Miguel Beer center is poised to win his unprecedented fourth straight Most Valuable Player (MVP), Guiao said Fajardo’s domination of the league would continue.
“He (Fajardo) is a dominating force in the PBA for the last four years. And I guess during his time, nobody has come close to him, not only he is physically dominating but also his mindset. He is consistent and unflappable. He is always composed,” Guiao told The Manila Times in an interview on Saturday.
“He arrived at a time when there is no one who can challenge him in the position. His mental toughness is a major part of himself at any circumstance and his major quality. Nobody has come close to the level of June Mar,” added the veteran coach.
The 27-year old Fajardo could join Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio in the illustrious company of four-time MVP winners in the league’s history.
Fajardo led the statistical points (SPs) category with 38.58 after the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup.
The PBA will honor the season’s top individual performance on October 20 during the annual Leo Prieto Awards.
Ginebra’s seven-foot center Greg Slaughter could challenge Fajardo but the 2013 top pick has been slowed down by injuries.
“Unlike the time of Mon (Fernandez), Abe King and Philip Cesar were there to match him. During the time of Alvin Patrimonio, Yoyoy (Villamin), Nelson (Asaytono) and Alvin (Teng) were there to stop him,” Guiao said.
“I hope in the upcoming draft there is the six-foot-7 Christian Standhardinger, but that’s still a question mark,” he added.
Ginebra mentor Tim Cone and Kia’s Chris Gavina echoed Guiao’s observations.
“June Mar has certainly had his way with the league ever since he joined, and he has even dominated imports along the way. He’s a special player with great character and work ethic. If he stays healthy, there’s no limit as to how many MVPs he can win,” said Cone.
“I honestly feel he is more than capable of finishing with anywhere around 10 or more MVP awards before he retires in the league. He has truly committed to the evolution of his skills and continually gets stronger every year,” said Gavina.
The five-time Best Player of the Conference winner led the Beermen to this year’s Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup titles, but the Gin Kings in the quarterfinals of the season-ending conference crushed the Beermen’s Grand Slam bid.