HE’S short of becoming Public Enemy No. 1 for some Pinoy fans and injured June Mar Fajardo is very much aware of it.
But he begged for understanding from his Gilas Pilipinas family and the millions of basketball-loving Filipinos for missing out another stint with the national team in the Fiba Asia Cup after suffering a strain on his right calf.
Getting injured with the tournament less than a week away was something he didn’t asked for, according to the three-time PBA MVP.
“Alam ko ngayon sobrang hate ako sa Pinas. Sabi nga ng kaibigan ko, 'Grabe, daig mo pa yung politikong napangalanan ni President Digong,'” said Fajardo, drawing laughter from the rest of the Gilas team as he talked to them in the reality series Kwentong Gilas.
“Sobrang init ng mga tao sa akin, pero anong magagawa ko? Wala, talagang na-injured e,” he added. "Di naman natin kagustuhan yun e. Sino ba naman ang ayaw maglaro. Pag naglalaro naman ako binibigay naman natin yung lahat.”
Fajardo hurt his calf during San Miguel’s 97-91 win against TnT Katropa in the PBA Governors Cup, or about three days before the team left for Beirut, Lebanon.
Doctors said it was the same strain he previously had, while adding the left calf is likewise showing signs of the same possible damage, so much so the 6-foot-10 Cebuano had been required to rest for two weeks or about the same stretch as the FIBA Asia Cup.
His absence was a major blow for a Gilas side that already flinched following the no-show of naturalized player Andray Blatche that left Reyes with just a 11-man rotation to work on.
Still, Fajardo insisted to go with the team and was a huge cheerleader on the Gilas bench during its 96-87 upset of China in its opening game.
“Gusto kong sumama para sumuporta sa inyo,” he said in addressing his teammates.
The soft-spoken big man admitted frustration got the better of him when he suffered the injury that Fajardo almost came to question God’s will.
“Gusto ko nga i-question si God. Bakit na injure pa ako this time, Sobrang sama talaga ng timing,” he admitted. “Pero na realize ko kung anong meron ako, kung ano ang narating ko, dahil din yun kay God.
“So instead na i-question ko kung bakit nangyari sa akin ito dapat ipag-palasamat ko na lang na nangyari sa akin ito dahil may magandang plano si God sa akin.”
And who knows what would it be.