One-week break means rest and recovery for Fajardo and SMB's walking wounded
June Mar Fajardo has missed the Beermen's last two practices owing to a painful foot. Jaime Campos

THE weeklong respite has given the injury-hit San Miguel Beer team the much-needed recovery time especially big man June Mar Fajardo, who’s the latest casualty to join the growing wounded list of the Beermen.

Fajardo has been bothered by his left plantar fascia of late, forcing him to skip the team's practice the past two days and limit his training to aquatic activities and work on his upper body in the gym.

“Masakit pa yung paa ko kaya nagpahinga muna ako from practice, puro therapy lang saka yelo,” Fajardo told shortly after the Beermen’s practice on Friday at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City.

Fajardo’s injury is the latest in the spate of misfortune to hit the Beermen since the start of the PBA Governors Cup two weeks ago.

San Miguel opened the season-ending conference with shoulder injuries to veteran forward Arwind Santos and rookie David Semerad.

Gunner Marcio Lassiter was later downed by a viral infection, while import Arizona Reid contracted diarrhea that contributed to San Miguel's 0-2 start.

The Beermen though managed to fight through adversity, bouncing back with victories over Rain or Shine (104-91) and GlobalPort (124-102) to revive their playoffs hopes.

As of Thursday, coach Leo Austria is happy to see Santos regain his form, while Lassiter is back in harness after exploding for 22 points in San Miguel's 22-point shellacking of Globalport on Sunday.

Austria said with seven games left in San Miguel’s schedule in the single-round eliminations, the team is now looking of winning at least five of them to have a better chance of landing a Top Four spot and twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.

“One round lang ito so the most for our team now is just have one or two losses in our last seven games,” said the San Miguel mentor. "The mentality of every team at this point is parang nasa playoffs na sila."

But Austria said the resurgence of Reid is a positive sign for the team heading into the halfway mark of the eliminations.

"Yung nilaro ni AZ against Rain or Shine and GlobalPort, ganun yung games na ine-expect namin sa kanya this conference, especially since maganda ang pinapakita niya sa ensayo saka mga tuneup games," explained Austria.

"Nagkasakit lang siya, pero ngayon, he's getting back to his old form."

Reid exploded for 41 points in the team's win over the Batang Pier, including 9-of-11 from three-point range.


San Miguel will be shooting for its third straight win this conference when it faces defending champion Star Hotshots in Sunday's main game.

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