TAB Baldwin expects big man June Mar Fajardo to rejoin Gilas Pilipinas by next week after sitting the national team’s Monday night practice for the second straight time.
Fajardo was one of five hurting players who didn’t join the nationals during their drills and scrimmages at the Moro Lorenzon gym, opting to sit on the sidelines and watch as the team went through some of its plays designed for its campaign in the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this July.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo is still nursing an injury on his right knee which he suffered during the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The San Miguel big man was supposed to be on a three-week break for the Commissioner’s Cup but defied doctors’ orders and played in the Beermen’s out-of-town game against Mahindra last Saturday.
Unless some things come along the way in San Miguel’s game this week against Globalport, Baldwin said Fajardo is ready to go.
“June Mar said he is good to go next Monday provided he doesn’t run into trouble in their game this week,” said Baldwin of the man considered as one of the important pieces in the country’s bid to make it back to the Olympics.
“It’s all the same thing with him, with issues on his feet and knees. He just got to be comfortable. I guess he’s getting close and that’s good news,” he added.
Fajardo joined Lee (knee) and Reyes (foot) on the sidelines along with Chan and Pingris.
Baldwin said Chan is bothered by a hurting groin although it’s something that is not serious.
“I think he expects to play in the next game,” said Baldwin of the Rain or Shine gunner.
Pingris has a hip flexor injury and is set for an MRI test on Tuesday.
“It (injury) flared up the other day. Marc said he felt it during the fourth quarter (of Star’s game against NLEX), but he still played through it,” added the Gilas coach.
Baldwin said he understands the condition all five players are going through, that all he wants is for them to be at practice even if it meant not joining the team’s scrimmages.
"At this point, we want to treat them a little bit with kids’ gloves both for the PBA and for the fact that we don’t want any serious injuries that would prevent them from being a part of our program long term,” he said.