Fajardo says Grand Slam chase is fueling his drive
MANILA, Philippines— The longer it takes to restart the Philippine Basketball Association, the more time June Mar Fajardo has to rehab his recuperating leg.
And the 6-foot-10 giant is doing everything he can to better than he was before.
“I want to be stronger that’s why I’m doing everything I can to regain my strength,” Fajardo told the Inquirer in Filipino.
Fajardo broke his leg during practice as San Miguel was preparing to defend the Philippine Cup, which it has won five straight times. The Beermen won their opener without him in the only game played before the league’s milestone 45th season was cut short by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Fajardo was expected to miss most of the season due to the injury but the sporting hiatus has given rise to hope that he may not miss the Philippine Cup at all.
Everything depends, however, on his rehab which, Fajardo claimed, was also slowed by the pandemic.
“Rehab was stopped because there’s no facility open, but my doctor gave me exercises to help my recovery,” he previously told the Inquirer.
Fajardo’s motivation to get stronger lies in something that the Beermen have failed to achieve—twice. In 2017 and 2019, San Miguel won the first two conferences, setting the team up for a second Grand Slam in franchise history. But in both years, the Beermen fumbled in the season-ending Governors’ Cup to miss out on the triple crown, which the team first accomplished in 1989.
“Of course, we want to win the Grand Slam, but we know it’s not going to be easy,” Fajardo said. “But who knows? If we get one championship, we might go on another roll. Maybe in the coming years, we can achieve it.”
Fajardo won his sixth MVP award earlier this year and joked about getting “a seventh next year” during the awards ceremony, which he attended while riding a scooter.
A couple of weeks ago, Fajardo bared that he was losing weight during the pandemic, while rehabbing at home.
“I can’t be aggressive with weight-bearing yet; in fact, even if I’m already allowed to walk without crutches, I try to use crutches as much as possible to help with my healing and not put premature pressure on my leg,” he told the Inquirer then. “But I also try walking without crutches so I can start getting used to it.”
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