REIGNING two-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo is doubtful for the Gilas Pilipinas side bound for the 2015 Fiba-Asia championship in China owing to injuries to both feet which need a long rest to heal.
Fajardo himself broke the news to Spin.ph during the victory party of San Miguel Beer on Tuesday night, saying he had been dealing with plantar fasciitis on both feet during the Beermen's run to the PBA Governors Cup title.
"Masakit talaga siya. Kaya kailangan kong magpahinga," said Fajardo while pointing to his feet.
According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis involves "pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes."
The development should cause concern for national coach Tab Baldwin and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, just days before a revised lineup for the Olympic qualifier is to be announced.
Baldwin had been very vocal in saying that he is looking to build the next Gilas team around Fajardo and naturalized center Andray Blatche.
The 6-foot-10 pride of Cebu was seen limping on some occasions during the Beermen's party at the San Miguel Corp. offices in Ortigas, but refuses to rule himself out of another run with the Gilas program.
"Sa ngayon, di ko talaga masabi (kung ano sagot ko sa Gilas invitation kung meron man). Kasi masakit eh. Pero gustong gusto kong lumaro (sa national team) kasi malaking opportunity 'yun," he said. "Natututo rin ako, kaso nga dumating to. Sa finals pa lang iniinda ko na.
"Kaso kabuhayan at career ko ang nakasalalay kung pupuwersahin ko siya. Kailangan dito ipahinga kasi bugbog ang paa ko eh. Mahaba ang season tapos nag Gilas pa ako last time," he added.
Fajardo bared that his doctor is now closely monitoring his injury, but hopes that it will respond positively to offseason rest.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria confirmed Fajardo's injury which he said the team tried to hide during the Governors' Cup playoffs against Alaska which the Beermen won via sweep.
"He is injured, that's what worried me during the stretch of the playoffs. Inalagaan lang namin talaga 'yan at minonitor ng mabuti," said Austria, himself a victim of plantar fasciitis during his PBA career.
"Sa ngayon we will give the team one-and-a-half months of rest, kailangan 'yun kasi laspag katawan ng players namin. It was a wicked season. Tuloy-tuloy halos ang games. Si June Mar, we might give him extra time to rest. Kasi kailangan niya 'yun," he added.
Austria said the coaching staff and San Miguel management will leave it up to Fajardo on whether or not he will reprise his role with Gilas, should an invitation come.
"Bahala si June Mar dun, tantiyahin nya sarili niya. Di namin siya pipigilan sa paglaro niya. Pero sabi ko nga it will all depend on how he is feeling," Austria said.
Spin.ph threw the sane question to Fajardo and he, too, was non-committal.
"Gusto ko kaso di ko pa talaga kayang sagutin 'yan. Bahala na. Sana naiintindihan ninyo. Masakit siya talaga lalo pag tumatalon at tumatakbo," he said in a regretful tone.
"Bahala na si Lord. Papahinga muna ko sa ngayon!"
Baldwin's list has been returned by PBA special assistant to the commissioner Willie Marcial to the SBP after some players were not deemed available to the program based on Baldwin's meetings with some team owners.