Dec 24, 2021

Fajardo impact in EASL seen

JUNE Mar Fajardo will definitely make a difference once he brings his game in the East Asia Super League.

Matt Beyer sees the 6-foot-10 San Miguel star making an impression in the upcoming league that features tough competition from some of the best players and teams around Asia.

Beyer, the co-founder and CEO of EASL, has been to the Philippines numerous times and saw Fajardo play in person with the Beermen and with Gilas Pilipinas, and believes the six-time PBA MVP can hold his own once he's taken his act to the 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 man as well," said Beyer, who was once the top representative of imports in the CBA and the former interpreter of Chinese player Yi Jianlian in the NBA.

"I have a lot of respect for him (Fajardo) and I can see why he's sort of a crown jewel of the PBA," added the American and long-time Hong Kong-based league official.

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The EASL is looking to launch its home-and-away tournament in October of next year, where the top ballclubs of the PBA, the Japan B League, Korean Basketball League, P.LEAGUE+, and the Bay Area Chun Yu Phoenixes of Hong Kong will vie for the $1 million champion prize money.

Fajardo and San Miguel once competed in the EASL back in 2019 as one of three PBA representatives in the week-long meet.

But the Cebuano big man didn't suit up for the Beermen as he was nursing an injury back then, with Terrence Romeo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and imports Dez Wells and Lester Prosper bannering the team's campaign.

The Beermen reached the semifinals, but fell against Lance Stephenson and the Liaoning Flying Leopards, who eventually emerged as champions. (RG)