JUNE MAR Fajardo is thrilled to get the green light to play again, not because of his bid to win a fifth successive MVP award but his desire to help both San Miguel Beer and the Philippine team.
“Siyempre masaya kasi nakabalik na ako sa court. Sana tuluy-tuloy na. Sana makalaro na,” Fajardo told SPIN.ph on Tuesday at the end of San Miguel’s practice in Quezon City.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said 6-foot-10 Fajardo got clearance from doctors on Monday to return to action after sitting out close to two months due to a stress fracture in his right foot.
Fajardo wasted no time going to SMB practice on Monday. San Miguel will have a game on Wednesday against NorthPort but Fajardo is not expected to play until the Saturday game against Rain or Shine.
To continue his conditioning, the Beermen have arrange a practice exclusively for Fajardo on Wednesday.
If he plays one more game, Fajardo will become eligible for another MVP trophy that will make him the first player in the league's 43 years to have five. But that, Fajardo said, is furthest from his mind.
“’Yun nga sabi sa akin (MVP award eligibility) pero hindi ko na masyado iniisip ‘yun. Hindi ko binibigyan ng pansin. Gusto ko maglaro. ‘Yung gusto ko maglaro hindi for the sake na papasok a para manalo sa MVP. Sa akin, gusto ko lang maglaro at makabalik sa court at makasama mga teammates ko,” said Fajardo.
Fajardo said it has also been a difficult two months being unable to undergo training until this week. To maintain his fitness, Fajardo said he did activities such as aqua training, but stressed there's nothing like playing on the court.
“Two months din ako nabakante. Lagi naman ako nagsu-swimming, nagpapakundisyon. Wala nga lang takbo. Ngayon, nakakabalik na ako,” said Fajardo.
Aside from returning to San Miguel, Fajardo said he hopes to also get a shot at playing for Team Pilipinas in the next Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers window set from November 30 to December 3.
“Sana, sana. Siyempre gusto ko rin maglaro doon,” Fajardo said.
As he is on his way to full recovery, Fajardo also thanked his teammates for being able to stay in the race for a quarterfinal berth at 4-4 (win-loss) after a faltering start.
“Siyempre natutuwa ako. Nagpapapanalo na kami. Credit sa mga teammates ko. Sobrang ganda ng linaro nila. Sana pagbalik ko, makatulong ako,” said Fajardo.