NEARLY a week since rejoining Petron in practice, sophomore center June Mar Fajardo is confident he can return before the PBA Philippine Cup reaches the playoffs.
The 6-10 big man will dress on Wednesday but won't play against Barako Bull, but expects to be healthy enough to play in the Boosters’ last two double-elimination round games to prepare himself for the playoffs.
“Suit up lang muna ako (on Wednesday), wala na masyadong sakit pero siguro mga two games malalaro ko (sa elims), though limited minutes lang muna,” Fajardo said when Spin.ph caught up with him after practice.
The pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu said his mobility is slowly returning since spraining his MCL in his right knee just two days before Petron’s highly-anticipated Christmas Day clash against sister team Barangay Ginebra.
Ginebra 'Twin Towers' Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter came up with big performances to power the Gin Kings to an easy 97-83 ripping of the Fajardo-less Petron five.
Fajardo has been doing therapy religiously every afternoon to fast-track the healing process, knowing that he’ll be needed by his team come the playoffs.
“Sa ngayon sila na muna ang bahala,” the 24-year-old former University of Cebu said, referring to his backup Douglas Kramer and Yousef Taha.
He vowed to “repay” them once he returns to active duty.
“Susuklian ko na lang sila pagbalik ko,” Fajardo said with a wide grin.
The vastly improved Fajardo, last season’s top rookie pick overall, is averaging career-highs of 15.5 points, 17.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in nine games this season.
Petron is currently in second place in the standings at 8-2 (win-loss0 - just half a behind leader Ginebra and right on course to grab one of two twice-to-beat spots in the quarterfinals.
The Boosters are also 1-1 without their starting center.
After Wednesday's game against Barako Bull, the Boosters play GlobalPort on Friday, San Mig Super Coffee on January 15, and Meralco on January 18.