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    Fajardo calms fears he may not qualify for MVP award: 'Lalaro ako this month'

    Oct 13, 2018
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    WINNER of both PBA Best Player of the Conference awards this season, June Mar Fajardo only needs to suit up for one game in the season-ending Governors Cup to all but put a lock on his fifth MVP trophy.

    Based on PBA rules, the Cebuano giant needs to play in at least 70-percent of San Miguel's games for the season to be eligible for the league's highest individual award.

    Fajardo has played in 44 of the Beermen's 45 games in the first two conferences, and if he fails to suit up for the entirety of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, can still be eligible for the award granting his team only gets to play 18 games this conference, according to calculations made by PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

    If San Miguel exceeds that 18-game cap and Fajardo no longer suits up this conference, his brush with history goes down the drain.

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    But etching his name anew in the annals of PBA history is the least of Fajardo's concerns. All he wants is to get back on the court and aid the Beermen in their campaign in this season-ending conference.

    "Sana makalaro ako, hindi lang for the sake na makuha ko yung 70-percent para sa MVP. Gusto ko maglaro nung normal na laro ko," he said after the Beermen's 117-100 trouncing of Phoenix on Friday.

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    Still on the road to recovery from a stress fracture on his right foot, Fajardo is taking his time before donning the San Miguel red-and-white and help his struggling team in the season-ending conference.

    The 29-year-old slotman, though, eased the fears of the San Miguel faithful and guaranteed that he will play this conference.

    "Makakalaro ako this month," he vowed, motivated to rejoin his teammates and compete for another title.

    "Focus ko na makabalik sa game. Gusto ko makalaro. Gusto kong tumakbo ulit sa court dahil ang tagal ko na di nagawa yun. Two months na siguro. Nami-miss ko rin yung games," said the Cebuano slotman.

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    "Nabo-bored din ako kasi wala akong ginagawa. Iba yung tumatakbo. Ginagawa ko lang is swimming at bike, pero iba talaga yung takbo. Mas gusto ko yun kaya sana talaga makalaro na ako."

    Coach Leo Austria, though, doesn't want to rush Fajardo back, no matter how badly he wants to get back.

    "He’s a player who’s itching to play. But I told him don’t be in a hurry kasi this is your future. I want you to be 100 percent," the affable mentor said.

    That's why despite San Miguel's struggles, all Austria wants is to see Fajardo back in full health before bringing him back to the grind this season or not.

    "Good thing na di niya pipilitin magpagaling. Unfortunately, di pa siya pwede and next week, may x-ray siya. Kung makitang 100-percent na siya, eh di pwede na," he said.

    Fajardo, though, only promises that the wait will soon be over.

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    "Getting better. Malapit na," he said.

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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