For the first time since the team arrived in Lebanon for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, June Mar Fajardo joined Gilas Pilipinas in practice.
The 6-foot-10 Cebuano participated in the team’s light practice a day after Gilas’ 84-68 win over Iraq to clinch top spot in Group B and along with it an automatic ticket to the Quarterfinals.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes however remained mum on whether Fajardo will play in tonight’s game against Qatar.
Prior to joining the the team in practice, the three-time PBA MVP has been limited to stretching exercises and shooting at the sidelines.
While Fajardo’s improving condition is certainly a welcome development for the national team, the same can’t be said for Christian Standhardinger unfortunately as the Fil-German’s status for tonight’s game is listed as uncertain due to severe case of stiff neck.
Standhardinger did not practice with the team and just watched from the sidelines. He has so far submitted solid averages of 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the team’s first two games. During the game against Iraq, the 6-foot-7 forward was instrumental in the team’s 3rd Quarter breakaway as he scored 10 straight points to open the period. The rest of the team followed his lead as Gilas broke open a tight game and cruised to its second victory of the tournament.
The Philippine national team takes on Qatar in the final game of the Group Phase. Game time is 2:00am, Manila time. – Mae Villarin