Chot Reyes counting on Fajardo-less Gilas to make up for lack of size with bigger heart
Gilas coach Chot Reyes stood defiant in the wake of news that his big man June Mar Fajardo will likely sit out the Fiba Asia Cup owing to a calf injury. Jerome Ascano

AS always, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes will have to make do with the material at his disposal as the national team embarks on its first major continental tournament this year - the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon.

The Filipino dribblers are set to miss the services of June Mar Fajardo, who has suddenly been ruled out owing to a strained calf injury he suffered in San Miguel Beer’s 97-91 win over TNT Katropa in the PBA Governors’ Cup last Wednesday.

Reyes, though, remains undaunted as he played down the impending absence of the three-time reigning PBA MVP, expecting the national team to make up for the lack of height with its fight.

“As the size gets smaller and the number dwindles, the fight grows bigger as the heart expands even more,” Reyes posted on his Twitter account on Friday.

[See Big blow for Gilas as Fajardo likely to sit out Fiba Asia Cup owing to injury]

Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, and Raymond Almazan are among the big men expected to step up in the absence of Fajardo.

The Filipino dribblers took a break on Friday after training for eight straight days. They will return to practice on Saturday morning at the Moro Lorenzo Center – their last before flying to Beirut on early Sunday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos