PJ Simon nears full strength but still in doubt for Game One after bout with chickenpox
Star Hotshots star guard PJ Simon has missed the team's last five games initially due to chicken pox before he was stricken by flu. Karlo Sacamos

PJ Simon is still getting back to game shape, but his conditioning might be enough to keep defenders, well, at a safe distance.

The Hotshots star has missed the team's last five games initially due to chickenpox before he was stricken with the flu, but has looked healthy and fit during practice on Wednesday on the eve of Game One of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series between Star and Ginebra.

“Two weeks siyang wala, so medyo yung kanyang kondisyon, rhythm, at basketball timing, yun yung hinahabol namin,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said. “Hopefully makasama namin siya kung ‘di man Game One, sa Game Two or Three.”

“Tinitimpla ko pa, but I think ready naman siya,” he added. “Siguro titingnan ko lang. I will talk first to my conditioning coach kung anong lagay niya. Pero sinasama ko na siya (sa practice).”

[See Victolero says Ginebra tough to beat owing to chemistry, championship experience]

Simon took part in only his first full practice on Wednesday where he participated in scrimmage as part of the red team, which simulated Ginebra players.  

The longtime Hotshots veteran played down his availability, but is staying ready if ever the situation calls for it.

“Actually hindi pa (maglalaro) eh,” Simon insisted. “Napakaganda naman ng nilalaro ng team, so hinahanda ko lang yung sarili ko na in case of emergency lang, pag kailanganin ako, maging ready lang ako.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos