COACH Tab Baldwin is holding his breath as June Mar Fajardo joined what is starting to look like a Gilas Pilipinas casualty list.
Fajardo was reduced to a spectator on Thursday due to a swollen right knee, which he had checked out at a hospital after excusing himself early from practice.
“With June Mar, I don’t think it's serious but you never know,” Baldwin said. “There's swelling so there's something there, and we want to find out what it is.”
The absence of Fajardo reduced the big man rotation in the pool to just four on Thursday, with Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Mo Tautuaa having little rest.
“You saw today, this is one of the limitations of having a pool too small,” Baldwin lamented. “They didn't get a break in practice, and that's what contributes to practices having less intensity than they should when you don't have enough bodies in practice to give the players the breaks that they need.”
“We just need a bigger pool,” he added. “We needed it from the beginning, that’s why we had all those cadets in the Monday night practices."
"I don’t think it's something that people understand," the national coach continued. "You cannot have a development plan with a team without a significant number of players during the training sessions because of injuries and absences and the intensity level that you inspect during practices.”
Fajardo wasn’t the only San Miguel Beer player who didn’t take part in training as Marcio Lassiter was under the weather, informing Baldwin that he can’t make it to practice through a text message on Wednesday night.
“He was up most of the night with flu-like symptoms,” Baldwin said. “(But) it's better to get them right now, especially we have a day off tomorrow, so I figured he gets a couple of days to recover and that will be better for him.”
Kiefer Ravena was also absent as he goes to London for a celebrity volleyball event.