Gilas Pilipinas is facing tall odds at the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, sorely lacking in size. Andray Blatche passed for safety reasons while June Mar Fajardo is nursing an injury.
Fajardo can opt to play with risks tied to it. That includes placing his future in jeopardy. This includes his playing career with the San Miguel Beermen and apparently for Gilas Pilipinas.
The man-mountain suffered the injury when his team faced TnT KaTropa last Aug. 2. Fajardo and company did pull out a win but with a price. The injury was discovered a few days later, ironically before the Philippine national team was to depart for the FIBA wars. When word of that came out, the hardcore Filipino basketball community lashed out at Fajardo and the SMC corporation.
To prove that Fajardo was not kidding about his injury, a medical certificate was issued on his behalf. He also skipped his team’s last game against the Star Hotshots, a contest that they lost.
Despite proof, the Philippine basketball community hardly accepted the findings. Apparently many are disappointed and not buying. Some even called him a coward without considering June Mar can still play in other tournaments moving forward.
As far as the medical findings are concerned, those claiming it was fabricated may have been silenced if the Gilas coaching staff sought a second opinion. Some see Fajardo’s injury as a farce, tied up to the rivalry between SMC and the MVP Group of companies.
Apparently, coach Chot Reyes and company preferred to adjust with Fajardo unlikely to suit up. And even if he did, he would end up a liability. In short, forcing the issue and play less than 100-percent may backfire rather than help.
Fajardo may be out of SMB grand slam bid
Win or lose, most will be keeping a close watch on Fajardo when he returns. If the injury is as serious as deemed, it is likely that he will be out of the SMB picture for the PBA Governors Cup.
This is a bit tricky for June Mar. If he forces himself to play, he will receive serious backlash from Gilas Pilipinas supporters. It also means he was faking the injury. Somehow, a week off may not be enough – especially if the injury is similar to that of Danny Seigle – a former Beerman who know plays with TnT.
For those unaware, his Achilles injury forced him out of action for some time. Each time he tried to force the issue, he would end up injured again. For Fajardo, that could be the same scenario – something SMB will likely not risk. Hence, it would be best if he is back to 100-percent.
While most continue the bashing, Fajardo is best kept out of the fray. Playing will not help Gilas nor Fajardo’s fortunes. Judgment will be passed not based on Gilas’ performance but if the “Kraken” ends up playing with the Beermen who are gunning for a rare grand slam.
As things stand now, SMB coach Leo Austria may want to use the time to adjust his team with Fajardo possibly out of commission. The rare feat is something but useless if it includes forcing the many-time MVP to play and suffer worse damage.