June Mar Fajardo begins shooting practice, inches closer to return from injury
June Mar Fajardo has vowed to show up in uniform for Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, but on whether he will play for SMB is another story. Jaime Campos

JUNE Mar Fajardo finally had his first basketball-related activity to start the week when he joined San Miguel in its afternoon shootaround at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City.

He’ll also be in his Beerman uniform for Game Five of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup finals against Alaska set Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

On whether he’ll finally see action in the best-of-seven title series, though, is another matter.

‘Fit naman ako (to play), pero dahil nga may injury, medyo limited pa yung mga galaw ko. May konting pain pa kasi,” said Fajardo shortly after practice Tuesday.

The 6-foot-10 pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu showed up for San Miguel’s game in the finals for the first time on Sunday when he was awarded his third straight Best Player of the Conference award in the all-Filipino conference.

He also personally cheered his teammates on from the bench and watched as the Beermen rallied from 14 points down to eke out a 110-104 victory in overtime of Game Four.

[See Austria vows Fajardo will return if SMB can extend Alaska to a Game 7]

With San Miguel finally breaking through in the series, 1-3, speculations on when Fajardo will finally play after injuring his left knee in the semifinals, grew louder.

Coach Leo Austria said his prized center will see action should the team get to extend the series to a seventh game, while Fajardo himself admitted doctors already gave him the go signal to play, but doesn’t want to risk his health if he’s not 100 percent – or at least close to 100 – fit.

But the ‘Kraken’ story took another twist when Fajardo began joining shootarounds during San Miguel’s last two days in practice.  

At the same time, Fajardo also began doing exercises aimed at getting his rhythm back and slowly reintroduced his body to the game, almost two weeks since he injured his knee during a rebound play against Jireh Ibanes of Rain or Shine.

“Nag-shooting na ako, tapos may mga exercises na akong ginagawa,” he said.

And unlike the last time when he showed up in street clothes during the awarding ceremony for the BPC award, the 25-year-old big man said he’ll be in his No. 15 San Miguel uniform for the next game.

“Mag-bihis ako sa Game 5,” he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos