WHILE flattered about Tab Baldwin’s willingness to wait for him, June Mar Fajardo reiterated he’s just simply not healthy enough to heed the call of the Gilas Pilipinas coach.
Baldwin had earlier declared the San Miguel Beer superstar as the only player in the national pool who has yet to practice that has no deadline on joining the team, and is even a shoo-in to the final roster bound for the Fiba-Asia Championship in China later this month.
“Syempre nakakatuwa na hanggang ngayon hinihintay pa rin nila ako, pero mahirap talaga eh,” Fajardo said after the San Miguel Beer practice at the Acropolis gym on Friday noon.
“Kung healthy lang ako, ba’t ‘di ako lalaro?” the reigning back-to-back PBA MVP added while getting therapy on his injured feet. “Sabi pa nga ni coach (Leo), mabibigyan ako ng minutes ‘dun eh.”
After taking vacation in his native Cebu, Fajardo has regularly reported at the SMB practice since the start of training camp Wednesday, but has been reduced to a spectator and some light workout as he continues to recover from a plantar fasciitis injury.
Asked if he can still recover and make the national team before the continental Olympic qualifier, Fajardo answered in the negative.
“Ilang days na lang eh, tapos kailangan mo pa kabisaduhin yung plays eh,” he said.
The 6-foot-10 slotman said he also weighs 290 pounds or 25 pounds over his playing weight.
“Hindi nakukuha yung conditioning overnight eh,” he said. Hindi pa nga ako nakakasali dito (SMB) eh.”
His continued no-show from the national team has naturally drawn a lot flak from fans and netizens, which Fajardo has taken in stride.
“Hindi mo naman ma-pe-please lahat ng tao eh,” the 25-year-old cager said. “Tsaka hindi naman lahat ng tao maiintindihan yung (situation) ko eh.”
Fajardo said he has been watching Gilas’ games in the Jones Cup on TV, believing he would’ve been a big help to a national side that is lacking in big men.
“Iniisip ko na nga lang din kung nandun din sana ako kasi wala silang masyadong tao sa poste eh. Wala pa si Andray (Blatche), pero masaya ako kasi binibigay talaga nila yung best nila."
Fajardo reiterated his desire to play for future national teams.
“Kung kukunin nila ako tapos healthy, maglalaro ako,” he said. “Yun lang naman talaga problema ng player eh: injury lang talaga.”