June Mar Fajardo joins SMB in light shooting, stretching: ‘Big boost for our players,’ says coach Leo Austria. For the first time after suffering a knee injury that has caused him to miss the first four games of the SMART BRO PBA Philippine Cup Finals, June Mar Fajardo has joined his San Miguel teammates in some light shooting drills and stretching on Monday.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-10, reigning back-to-back PBA MVP might have his first live contact drill with the rest of the squad as he tries to get his timing back in preparation for a possible return in the best-of-seven title series.
“Double purpose yun eh. He’s trying to get his rhythm back while on the other hand, he’s also trying to inspire the team and kitang-kita masaya yung lahat sa practice, especially when they saw June Mar joining them,” Austria told InterAksyon.com in a telephone interview.
According to Austria, Fajardo still showed his usual touch from the perimeter while doing some stretching exercises to test his injured knee.
Despite Fajardo’s presence in practice, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to play for Wednesday’s Game 5.
“Nasa sa kanya yun eh,” Austria added. “For now, he’s trying to get back slowly but surely. Ayaw naman nating puwersahin dahil baka ma-aggravate yung injury nya.”
But Fajardo’s presence was enough to lift the morale of the Beermen, who are aching to score another win and trim the deficit to just one game. They still lead the series, 3-1, but Austria believes that after winning Game 4, the pressure on the defending champions has eased up a bit.
“That was a statement win for us. We showed the heart of the champions. I do believe that no matter what happens, the pressure is not that big anymore after we lost the first three games.”