This appears in rappler.com
June Mar Fajardo being courted by CBA team?
by rick olivares
Rappler heard from a source affiliated with the Philippine national team the other day that San Miguel Beerman and two-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is being eyed by a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) team as one of its Asian imports. The source refused to divulge more details.
The five worst teams in the CBA’s previous campaign are allowed to field an Asian import aside from two non-Asian players.
Rappler called SMB head coach Leo Austria to verify the news but he denied any knowledge of the rumour. “This is the first time I am hearing this,” said Austria. “If it’s true then it is nice to hear that our Asian neighbours and especially the CBA think highly of Filipino players. But if it comes to that, we will have to discuss a lot of things.”
If true, then Fajardo will be the second active PBA player to gain interest from a Chinese basketball club.
Fajardo is currently with Greece training with the national team as part of its preparations for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month in Manila.
During the 2011 PBA season, then Talk ’N Text (TNT) point guard Jim Alapag was approached by scouts from Qingdao Double Star Eagles, the same club that former NBA star Tracy McGrady would play for one year later in the twilight of his career.
TNT was in the midst of pursuing a Grand Slam (they lost to Petron in a seven-game finals series) when the offer was made. “I was flattered,” recalled Alapag of the offer.
“I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to play with Gilas (as then head coach Rajko Toroman’s squad was aiming for qualification to the 2012 London Olympics) along with Kelly (Williams), Ranidel (De Ocampo), and Asi (Taulava). I was also in the middle of renegotiating a contract with Talk ’N Text.”
Alapag said that he gave the offer some thought. “Absolutely! I spoke to team management and the coaching staff at that time and they were supportive. They too were excited for the opportunity. At the end of the day,
it was nice to be recognized but we had something special going on with Talk ’N Text at that time (the nucleus of that team went on to win three more PBA championships) and there was the national team aspect that I didn’t want to let go. But it would have been a great opportunity to play in a league like the CBA.”
“If that is true for June Mar that’s good. But it remains to be seen if that will happen because he has a live contract."