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    Austria not taking risk on Fajardo, says his health more important than PBA title

    Jan 19, 2016
    “The future of Philippine basketball is with June Mar, especially in international competition, and the future of San Miguel,” says SMB coach Leo Austria. Jerome Ascano

    SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria is beginning to accept that the Beermen might be hard pressed to defend the PBA Philippine Cup if June Mar Fajardo misses the rest of the championship series against Alaska.

    After the Beermen fell into a 2-0 hole in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night, Austria bared there is still swelling on Fajardo’s left knee, leaving the reigning MVP questionable for Game Three on Friday.

    Austria did not sound as optimistic as he was just two days earlier when he and other SMB officials had raised the hope that the injured two-time MVP could play in Game Two.

    “Yung bata talagang frustrated, but I told him we could sacrifice the championship as long as hindi mapo-prolong yung injury mo,” Austria conceded.

    “There are so many championships ahead of him,” he was quick to add. “I think everybody from the management understands his situation.”

    [See Vic Manuel stands tall in endgame, helps Alaska take 2-0 lead over SMB]

    Even if Fajardo gets healthier and be available for Game Three, Austria won’t force him to play.

    “The way I see it, he’s not one-hundred percent so with his situation, he won’t help the team,” Austria admitted. “I’m sure he will try, but I don’t want to take any risks.”

    “The future of Philippine basketball is with June Mar, especially in international competition, and the future of San Miguel,” he added.

    “This is only a championship … and we have another conference,” Austria continued. “We have a second and third, baka magkaroon ulit kami ng two out of three, so you can never know. What’s important is for June Mar to be one-hundred percent.”

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    “The future of Philippine basketball is with June Mar, especially in international competition, and the future of San Miguel,” says SMB coach Leo Austria. Jerome Ascano
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