San Miguel Beer is still several days from its opening game and already, it has suffered some sort of a loss—something that also doesn’t augur well for the country’s preparation for two major international basketball matches.
Four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo will be forced to sit out a majority of the PBA Governors’ Cup elimination round due to a stress fracture on his right shin.
“We are doing everything we can to help June Mar recover as quickly as possible with the help of our doctors and PTs (physical therapists),” said San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla.
Worse, Fajardo has also been ruled out for Gilas Pilipinas in the second round of the Fiba World Cup Qualifiers in the middle of next month. Fajardo will be a mere spectator when the Beermen open their campaign in the season-ending conference opposite the NLEX Road Warriors on Sept. 1.
Without the 6-foot-10 inside operator, rookie Christian Standhardinger is expected to fill in the huge hole in the middle.
But he will also be unavailable for a couple of games due to the ongoing Asian Games in Indonesia, where he’s a vital component for the national team.
Meanwhile, playing a pair of games in a span of three days normally suits Alaska coach Alex Compton just fine.
But clashing against two championship-caliber teams back-to-back will definitely be rough for the Aces.
After taking down the Meralco Bolts the other night, the Aces are scheduled to face the TNT KaTropa at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s always tough playing two contenders back-to-back. We have less rest and we have to figure out the guys’ minutes on the floor,” said Compton.
The Aces unleashed a fusillade in the third quarter to defeat the Bolts Friday night, 80-72, with Mike Harris making a good account of himself with a double-double output.
TNT has lost two of its first three games. Ironically, the KaTropa registered their lone victory without an import against the Bolts before parading Stacy Davis and eventually losing to Blackwater two nights ago.
“We’re not quite in shape. Now, we have to chase TNT with its all-star backcourt all around apart from scouting an import we’ve never seen before,” said Compton.
Also successful in their conference-opener were the Phoenix Fuel Masters, who will tackle the Stanley Pringle-less North Port Batang Pier in the 6:30 p.m. main event.
Eugene Phelps exploded for the Fuel Masters with 50 points, but it was the assertive Calvin Abueva who helped secure the W over the Columbian Dyip, 113-107, Wednesday last week.
Abueva, traded by the Aces prior to the conference, pulled down 15 rebounds, eight of them from the offensive glass apart from scoring 12 points and registering three blocks for his new squad.
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