[Sticky] San Miguel News and Updates
June Mar Fajardo rejoins SMB practice, targets Saturday return
June Mar Fajardo has been cleared to participate in San Miguel Beer’s practice, giving the Beermen's quest for a playoff spot in the 2018 PBA Governors Cup a timely, much-needed boost.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria confirmed Fajardo has been given the green light by doctors to join practices since Monday and he is looking at Saturday’s match against Rain or Shine as a possible return date.
“We will see pagdating ng Saturday if he is ready to play. But definitely, before the eliminations is over, I think he could play,” Austria told SPIN.ph at the end of the Beermen’s practice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Fajardo took part in light shooting drills in a practice session exclusively set by the team for the San Miguel star.
“He was given by the doctors the clearance to start strengthening and drills like shooting. By himself pa lang. Actually, nagpa-schedule ako ng two hours tomorrow for him,” said Austria.
Austria said Fajardo was excited to return to practice.
“The good thing with him, upon learning na he is okay yesterday, derecho agad siya, nagbihis, at ginawa na niya ang dapat gawin,” said Austria.
Austria though said he is not rushing the return of Fajardo although he hopes Fajardo can already participate in 5-on-5 practice by Thursday.
“We will see if he can participate on 5-on-5. We are not rushing him so that pagdating sa playoffs, 100 percent na siya,” said Austria.
San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo set to return from injury vs. Rain or Shine
June Mar Fajardo will return from injury and play Saturday in the San Miguel Beermen's game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Fajardo has been sidelined since late August with a stress fracture in his right shin. Fajardo participated in a 10-minute scrimmage during San Miguel's practice Thursday.
"I still need to get used to it but it felt really good," Fajardo said in Filipino. "There's no longer pain but there's tightness. It has been a few months since I last ran."
Coach Leo Austria said they will restrict Fajardo's minutes on Saturday.
"The purpose of the scrimmage was for him to just feel the court. ... So far it was fine. He still has his shooting touch. It's a matter of simple adjustment," said Austria.
Fajardo's presence will be a big boost for the Beermen, who are vying for a top-four spot heading into the playoffs.
"Definitely in the next two games, he will play. And fortunately, we have a good chance to get into the next round. And I think our worst scenario is we drop to No. 8," Austria said. "But I'm confident we will make it to the next round without any playoffs, hopefully. The chances to get into the top four is very slim. It will rely on the result of the games of the other teams."
Fajardo is happy to be on the court again after two months in the swimming pool working on strength and conditioning training.
"I'm ready to play in case coach calls my number," he said.
Austria believes San Miguel holds psychological advantage over Alaska in their quarterfinal duel
San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria believes his team's recent success against the Alaska Aces could work in their favor when the two teams face off in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors' Cup.
Austria, however, also sees the Beermen's three championship victories at the expense of the Aces between 2015 to 2016 as a rallying point for a team which needs two wins against Alaska to advance to the semi-finals.
Alaska finished the eliminations with an 8-3 (win-lost) mark to earn a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
"I hope nandoon pa rin yung edge namin sa kanila, psychologically," Austria said after the Beermen lost 111-81 to the Meralco Bolts on Saturday to finish the eliminations in sixth place with a 6-5 (win-lost) record.
"But it could turn out to be a motivating factor para sa kanila, dahil alam nila na lagi kami yung hindrance sa kanilang pagiging successful sa ligang ito," he added.