Wondering why Fajardo barely played in Gilas match vs Qatar?
MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo barely saw action in Gilas Pilipinas' 84-46 manhandling of Qatar in Doha in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday, February 21 (Friday, February 22, Philippine time).
The reigning five-time PBA Most Valuable Player logged in only 3:30 minutes and remained on the bench even with the Filipinos enjoying an insurmountable advantage over the Qataris.
Apparently, Fajardo has fallen under the weather.
"June Mar Fajardo tried to play today but he was sick and that's the reason that we didn't play him longer minutes," Philippine team head coach Yeng Guiao explained in the post-game presser.
"He tried to suit up, he played for a few minutes but I felt that the way the game was going, it wasn't really necessary for us to use him."
Fajardo was subbed out with 7:18 minutes left in the first half with the Philippines up by only 5 points, 18-13.
As it turned out, Guiao's intuition came into reality as his wards stretched that lead to 10 points by halftime, 31-21, and to as large as 45 late in the final frame, 82-37.
Filling the void left by Fajardo were Japeth Aguilar, who finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Poy Erram, who flaunted his formidable defense with 4 blocks to go with 6 points and 2 rebounds.
"We just played great defense. We were consistent from start to finish. Energy was there. The guys played really hard, every single one of them," Guiao said.
Guiao assured Fajardo will be ready against Kazakhstan, which the Philippines will face in a must-win game in Astana on Sunday, February 24. (SCENARIOS: How Gilas can qualify for FIBA World Cup)
"We'll just preserve him for the next game." – Rappler.com