JUNE Mar Fajardo is determined to return to form in the PBA Governors Cup playoffs, just two games into his return from a long injury layoff.
Fajardo only had one point in San Miguel’s 111-81 loss to Meralco last Saturday. He played 16 minutes and missed all his three shots from the field in his second game back from a stress fracture in his right shin.
The 6-10 Cebuano is determined to change that as the playoffs arrive, beginning with the Beermen's match against Alaska on Wednesday.
“Nakakalungkot na natalo kami,” said Fajardo. “Naninibago pa ako pero hindi ‘yun excuse kasi naglalaro na ako.”
“Babawi ako. Babawi kami sa next game,” the four-time PBA MVP added.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said he got an assurance from Fajardo that he will bounce back come playoff time. The sixth-seed Beermen will have to win twice over third-seeded Alaska in order to advance into the semifinals.
“What I’ve heard (from him) is bawi daw siya,” Austria said. “I’m happy to hear that from him. It seems like ‘yung confidence niya, slowly bumabalik dahil I just want him to give more playing time para maka-adjust siya at makuha ‘yung rhythm niya.”
Austria admitted Fajardo’s timing has been off on the court after being out for two months.
“He is trying his best to get back to his rhythm. Out of timing eh. We have to give credit to the defense of Meralco. Everytime we go to the post, it’s against (Allen) Durham, there is a lot of support and back-up. He was not able to get those shots na he has been doing before.”
“I hope na makuha na niya ‘yung timing niya. That’s the only thing na hinahanap namin sa kanya. I think physically, he can survive the intensity of the game pero ‘yung timing, he keeps on thinking what to do unlike before na automatic na once he get the ball, alam na niya na panira na.
Hindi natin nakita na pagtanggap niya, face the basket, tumitira eh. Wala ‘yung kanyang turnaround at ‘yung kanyang power play. I hope na this coming Wednesday, makita na uli natin ‘yun,” said Austria.
Health-wise, Fajardo no longer sees any problem.
“Okay naman, medyo stiff lang siya,” Fajardo said, when asked about the injury. "Sana makuha ko na ‘yung timing ko for the next game. Hindi ko ma-shoot ‘yung mga sobrang lapit na tira ko eh. Makukuha ko rin ‘yun."