CEBU CITY – Hopes for the return of the PBA’s two-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo, to the Gilas Pilipinas were dashed on Friday morning, with the Cebuano big man telling Spin.ph it's too late in the day for him to join the team preparing for next month's Fiba Asia championships.
Fajardo said that while his injured feet were already feeling better, the combination of the fact that he has been away from playing basketball for several weeks now and the China showpiece already drawing make his return no longer feasible.
“Medyo okay na ang injury ko, hindi na masyado masakit. Magte-therapy na lang ako pagbalik ko sa Manila, “ said the San Miguel Beermen sentinel from his hometown of Pinamungahan where he has been holed up since their conquest of the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup.
The return of Marc Pingris to the national team after a change of heart had Filipino basketball fans hoping that his fellow players from the San Miguel Corporation organization – and Fajardo in particular – will soon follow suit.
That will not be the case for the 6-foot-10 gentle giant.
“Sobrang behind na ako sa practice sa Gilas uy. Naporma na ang team. Tapos ilang weeks na rin ako di naglalaro so kailangan ko pa talaga magpa-kundisyon ulit,” Fajardo, who claimed he was suffering from plantas fasciitis on both feet at the end of the PBA season, said in Cebuano.
“Mahirap na talaga na babalik ako sa Gilas kasi sobrang lapit na ng competition.”
Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin has already set a deadline – the team’s return from a stint in a pocket tournament in Estonia – for those players who have been named to the national training pool to start attending the practices.
The Gilas coach had kept the door open precisely for Fajardo, a pillar in the national team that took part in the Fiba World Cup in Spain last year and the Asian Games in Korea.
Fajardo is set to return to Manila next week in time for the start of San Miguel’s training sessions on September 2.