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Don’t Stop Learning: June Mar Fajardo

It took just five conferences for June Mar Fajardo to metamorphose from being a potential superstar to a genuine superstar in the PBA.

The 6’10″ Petron/San Miguel Beer center earned his first major PBA individual award after being the hands-down winner of the Philippine Cup’s Best Player of the Conference, beating out teammate and reigning MVP Arwind Santos as well as three other solid PBA big men in Japeth Aguilar and rookie Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra as well as Jay Washington of Globalport.


June Mar Fajardo showing his Best Player of the Conference award after his talk with the PBA sports scribes.

Fajardo showed vast improvement in his game as a sophomore after averaging career-high numbers of 16.3 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 35.5 minutes during the Philippine Cup.

While winning the BPC brought a smile on his face, Fajardo was telling me how he wish the Boosters also barged into the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. Petron lost to Rain or Shine, 1-4 in their semifinal series recently.

But here’s the interesting part.

For someone who could have just relaxed after coming off a sensational performance in the season-opening tournament (as well as a bruising semis series against the rugged Elasto Painters), Fajardo shared how he intends to work his tail off during conference break.

“Dami ko ring mga lapses sa depensa so kailangan ko iyan i-improve. Siyempre, yung mag-champion ang pinaka-goal namin eh,” said the 2012 PBA top rookie pick.

June Mar Fajardo

Fajardo said he intends to improve on his foot work, his post plays and defense – which, he considers as foundational blocks for him to get better as a player as he tries to help the Beermen get back into strong title contention in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Fajardo’s approach to the game reminds me of what the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once told the graduating students of Stanford University during a commencement speech in 2005 – “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Just as professional basketball players like Fajardo need to keep improving and refining their game, each one of us also need to keep a “learning attitude”.

If we want to grow in life, we need to keep challenging the status quo, knowing that in the “Information Generation”, learning is no longer confined in the four corners of a classroom.

Learn by reading books, blogs or articles that could widen our vocabulary and help us become critical thinkers.

Learn by asking around people who have more experience than us.

Learn so we can be better, be an inspiration and blessing to others and more importantly, honour God, the Source of our talent and skill.