MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo is considered the future of Gilas Pilipinas by head coach Tab Baldwin himself. But with a nagging foot injury, his immediate future with the team is in jeopardy.
The 25-year-old San Miguel Beer center admitted he is yearning for some rest as he deals with plantar fasciitis on both feet. It is an injury that causes pain in the heel due to inflammation of the plantar fascia tissue.
“Nananakit na nga e (It’s been hurting),” he said. “Gusto ko muna magpahinga (I just want to rest).”
The 6-foot-10 back-to-back PBA MVP played through the injury during the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs as the Beermen emerged as champions and Fajardo won Best Player of the Conference and Finals MVP.
It’s been non-stop basketball for the Cebu native since he joined the pro league in 2012 as the first overall pick. He suited up for the nationals as they went on to win silver at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and then see action for the first time in 4 decades at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He also joined the team in the Incheon Asian Games right after.
Fajardo’s vast improvement in his ability and confidence over the last two years has made him a shoo-in for this year’s Gilas pool that has yet to be revealed.
Despite the injury, he remains open to donning the national colors once more as Gilas sets its sights on this year’s continental championship where they will aim for the gold and the 2016 Summer Olympics berth.
“Kung tatawagin,” he admitted he is still willing to play. “Bugbog na bugbog na nga ako, pero paghahandaan naman natin ‘yun e. Tiwala lang sa sarili.”
(If I get called up. I’m banged up but I’ll prepare for it. I just have to trust myself.)
Fajardo saw limited playing time with the nationals in 2013 but came alive in Gilas’ lone World Cup win over Senegal with 15 points, 9 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The 2015 FIBA Asia Championship is from September 23 to October 3 in China, and the national team plans to begin training by August 1. – Rappler.com