Fit-again June Mar Fajardo ready to play in Gilas knockout game against South Korea
June Mar Fajardo has been joining Gilas practices in Lebanon with minimal pain in the strained calf that has ruled him out of Gilas' lineup in the first three games. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas could play with a complete lineup in its knockout quarterfinals game against rival South Korea in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup.

Big man June Mar Fajardo disclosed he's ready to play against the dangerous Koreans in the 11:30 p.m. match up at the Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Beirut, Lebanon.

The 6-foot-10 San Miguel Beer center continued to practice with the team, and while there is still some pain in his strained calf muscle, Fajardo thinks his recovery is all in the mind.

"Getting better. Actually makakalaro na ako," said the three-time PBA MVP in the reality series Kwentong Gilas.

"Ok naman. May discomfort lang. Pero parang sa utak lang na may sumasakit."

Gilas Pilipinas resident therapist Dexter Aseron assured Fajardo is ready to go, having personally seen his progress from the injury since the team departed from Manila to the Lebanese capital more than a week ago.

"Maganda yung progression niya from injury. Its getting stronger everyday, hopefully he gets to play kahit for a few minutes," said Aseron on the eve of the match against South Korea.

Two others in the injury list in Christian Standhardinger and Calvin Abueva are also likely to play, according to Aseron.

The long-time national team therapist said he expects Standhardinger to be close to 100 percent fit again after missing Gilas' last game against Qatar due to severe stiff neck and shoulder injury.

On the other hand, Abueva, who sprained his ankle in the team's 90-84 win over the Qataris, still has some swelling on his injured foot, but which Aseron described as manageable.

"He's (Abueva) feeling better pero may konting swelling pa. Hopefully we get the swelling down more," said Aseron, who had been busy the past few days attending to injured players in the team.

"We’ll do some strengthenining pa before the game (against Korea)."

While coach Chot Reyes was happy seeing the team practiced with everybody accounted for going to its most important outing in the Asian spectacle, he said the coaching staff made the practice just a bit light in order not to further aggravate the health concern of the players.

"We were sharp mentally today. It's hard to push them anymore than we did (Tuesday), 60 to 70 percent. We didn’t want to take the risk of another guy sufferring another pulled muscle or twisted ankle," said the Gilas mentor.

"We didn’t want to take the risk of another guy going down."


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