WILL June Mar Fajardo do a Willis Reed?
The San Miguel Beer superstar revealed he will suit up for the Beermen in Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against Alaska on Sunday.
While staying behind in Manila while the rest Beermen seek to pull a game back in Game Three in Lucena on Friday, Fajardo, out with a knee injury, said he will make his first appearance in the best-of-seven series on Sunday.
“Try ko sa Sunday, suit up ako,” Fajardo said in a short chat with Spin.ph after practice on Wednesday. “Pero depende, titingnan ko kung anong improvement.”
If he does, the reigning league MVP will mirror what Reed did in Game Seven of the 1970 NBA Finals when the New York Knicks star, sidelined with an ankle injury, surprisingly started and made a cameo appearance for the Knicks, giving them a moral boost.
Fajardo, who visited SMB practice for the first time since hurting his left knee after a collision with Jireh Ibanes in Game Six of the semifinals against Rain or Shine, showed Spin.ph the swelling on his knee that was protected by a blue knee pad.
“Maga pa din eh, bigat eh,” the 6-foot-10 slotman said. “Ngayon lang ako nakalabas ng bahay.”
“Nangyari eh. Wala na tayong magagawa dun,” he added. “Yung positive side na lang 'yung titingnan natin na wala masyadong na-damage at namamaga lang.”
SMB coach Leo Austria said after Game Two they were willing to “sacrifice” the championship for Fajardo, who, in turn, thanked the coaching staff and management for understanding his situation.
“Pero sa sarili ko, gusto ko maglaro eh,” the Cebuano big man stressed. “Pinaghirapan naming makaabot sa finals tapos pag dating ng finals, hindi ako makakalaro.”
Fajardo felt helpless as he saw the Beermen fall into a 2-0 hole in the series.
“Ang hirap manood,” he admitted. “Sa bahay lang ako, sigaw lang ako ng sigaw. Masakit panoorin 'yung teammates mo natatalo tapos ako wala ako maitulong. Ang matulong ko lang talaga ay ipagdasal sila.”