It’s not worth the risk.
That’s the belief of San Miguel Beermen team manager Gee Abanilla on the possible scenario that will see star center June Mar Fajardo suit up for the Philippine national men’s basketball team in the FIBA Asia Cup this week despite a calf injury.
“The Kraken”, who joined the Gilas Pilipinas delegation in Lebanon, earlier expressed his desire to play if his condition gets better. He’s expected to miss at least two weeks of action due to his injury.
But Abanilla believes that Gilas Pilipinas will benefit more in the long run if Fajardo decides to just rest and not aggravate his injury.
“It’s not a complete tear, but it could lead to that if we’re going to force him to play. Right now, the advice is for him to take a one week rest and one week rehab. He had a previous tear on the same calf,” Abanilla said.
“In fact, even yung left calf ni June Mar, may tear na rin, according to the doctor.
“Looking at long term, I think it would be wiser if June Mar will skip playing the FIBA Asia tournament, which is not a qualifying tournament for the World Cup or the Olympics. Gilas will be needing him more in future tournaments to come.”
While the FIBA Asia Cup is billed as the continent’s premier tournament, it does not longer serve as a qualifier for world-level competitions. Instead, a six-window home-and-away qualifying will be played starting in November this year.
With Fajardo away from home, the San Miguel staff sent him his therapy equipment to fast-track his recovery.
“Our physical therapist is in close contact with the physical therapist of Gilas,” Abanilla said. “Magkakaibigan naman yang mga yan. We’ve decided to send the Normatec (massage machine) so he could continue his rehab there in Lebanon.”
But Abanilla said he won’t be surprised if Fajardo decides to play for Gilas Pilipinas which needs him against taller Asian rivals.
“Actually, si June Mar rin naman makakapag-decide niyan if kaya niya lumaro,” added Abanilla. “Knowing June Mar, he’s been playing in pain for many games. Kaya niyang mag-tiis.”