PUERTO PRINCESA - If you still long to see June Mar Fajardo show up in the PBA All-Star Game on Sunday, don't keep your hopes up.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria bared that last-ditch efforts to plane in Fajardo on Saturday were already aborted after his doctor advised him not to ride a plane. The reigning MVP suffered a sprain in his right ankle during the second quarter of their game against Barako Bull Energy last Tuesday.
"Nag usap pa kami nung Tuesday, sabi ko sumunod na lang siya. Gustong gusto niya magpunta kasi gusto niyang makita mga fans niya eh. Saka hindi pa yata siya nakakarating dito sa Palawan," said Austria.
"Natatakot yung duktor kasi pwedeng mas mamaga ang paa nya dahil sa pressure ng plane," said the reigning Philippine Cup champion coach.
The soft spoken San Miguel mentor bared that management wanted Fajardo, a starter for the South team and the leading vote-getter this season, to play for atleast a few minutes to give in to the clamor of the fans.
But Austria insisted they cannot sacrifice the welfare and future of their star slotman.
"Gusto sana siyang palaruin kahit a few minutes, kaso hindi pwede eh. Ayaw ng duktor," he said.
Austria hopes that Fajardo's injury will heal by the time the Beermen play Rain or Shine on March 13.
"Sana makalaro na siya sa March 13 against Rain or Shine, according to the doctor by Tuesday na siya mag-practice ulit," Austria said while revealing that Fajardo is now undergoing strengthening and minor rehab.
"Pero kung di kaya, di namin pipilitin. Ayaw namin ma-prolong ang healing ng injury, mas makakasama sa amin 'yan," he added.
"Pagod na rin ang katawan nung bata. Galing pa Gilas yan tapos nasagad pa kami sa finals," he said. "Hindi lang pisikal yan pati mental. Kasi pagod na talaga."
Austria still sounded positive about the Beermen's chances of making the Philippine Cup playoffs despite a woeful 2-6 win-loss record.
"The chances are still there, may posibilidad pa rin kami maka five wins. Marami pang nasa itaas ang six wins pa lang. Marami pang puwedeng mangyari," he said.
"Very positive at upbeat naman ang players, yun ang isang kinatutuwa ko. Saka naiba ang aura ng players sa bago naming import," he said of new reinforcement Arizona Reid.