IF San Miguel executives will be asked, June Mar Fajardo should to take his precious time recovering from his complete right tibia fracture.
And it means that the five-time PBA MVP just won't be missing the Beermen's quest in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, but as well as the entirety of the season.
"Lahat ng oras na pwedeng ipahinga ni June Mar, pag 110-percent na siya, that's the time he can practice," said Ginebra governor and SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua.
San Miguel governor Robert Non agreed, noting: "Ako, expected ko next season na siya babalik."
Fajardo's leg injury casted a massive cloud of uncertainty on the upcoming season as for the first time in a decade, the Cebuano giant, who has been the centerpiece of the Beermen dynasty, will be sorely missed.
Yet the top honchos want the 6-foot-10 slotman not to rush things as they expect him to be better than ever once he returns to the hardcourt whenever that time comes.
"It's a very big loss, pero ilang taon pa naman bago mag-umpisa yun dito sa atin," said Chua, referring to the 2023 Fiba World Cup. "Palagay ko by that time, naka-recover na si June Mar.
Fajardo, who suffered the injury on Feb. 3, went under the knife immediately a day after and is now embarking on a long and tedious process of recovery.
He has since stayed here in Manila, recuperating in the confines of his home.
Chua, though, said that there are no plans for the soft-spoken center to be sent overseas for further recovery as the SMC brass has tons of faith on the Filipino doctors tending on Fajardo.
"Magagaling ang mga doktor natin dito. Sa States, after an operation, ang therapy doon kanya-kanya. Dito alaga tayo ng mga therapist at doktor. I think mas maganda dito. Iba yung nakatutok eh," he said. "Ok naman siya. So far, so good. Pagkatapos noon, therapy agad siya and he's doing very well."
Non chimed in that the SMB doctors are on top of the situation when it comes to getting Fajardo back to shape, especially in these early stages of his recovery.
"Actually, full support naman ang SMB and the management. Even yung PTs at doctors namin, naka-focus sa kanya. Bantay-sarado yun," he said.
"On-call lagi ang doctors. May schedule siya na kailangan sundin. Madali siyang makaka-recover kung susundin niya at sinisigurado namin na dapat niya gawin. Hindi na nga siya umuwi sa Cebu dahil nag-aalala siya at di pa siya pwede maglakad-lakad. After two months siguro, tsaka pa lang pero right now, nandoon siya sa bahay niya."
Never a picky eater, Fajardo's diet is now also monitored as San Miguel does not want the Gilas mainstay to be overweight during this process.
"Hindi siya kailangan na lumaki ng husto dahil magiging mabigat siya. Hindi pa pwede mag-put ng weight sa isang paa niya, so kailangan talaga na pati yung diet niya, monitored," said Non.
As much as the lost season bore weight on the shoulders of Fajardo, Chua himself will be the first to tell the humble slotman to take a rest for a change -- especially with the grind that he's had not just for the Beermen but also for Gilas Pilipinas.
"Si June Mar, ibang klaseng tao. Napakabait na tao at napakagalang. Noong na-injure siya, parang siya pa ang nahihiya na injured siya dahil gusto niya makatulong sa national team at sa San Miguel," he said.
"Pero sabi ko nga, sobra-sobra na ang naitulong mo. Bata ka pa, magpahinga ka para pagbalik mo, mas malakas ka pa. Sino na-injure na ganyan sa NBA? Si Paul George. Pagbalik, gumaling pa eh. Kaya sabi ko kay June Mar, relax lang siya. Kailangan ng katawan niya na makapagpahinga."