There was a ‘big’ development Monday night for Gilas Pilipinas, and his towering presence didn’t go unnoticed.
Aside from an almost-perfect attendance, the bigger news for Gilas was when June Mar Fajardo showed up in practice uniform and went to work with the other big guys in the 3rd session of the national team’s Mondays-only training at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex in Quezon City.
Sidelined in the 1st 2 sessions, Fajardo finally erased doubts of when or will he ever suit up for Gilas in the FIBA Olympic Qualifier Tournament in July.
“Siyempre, gusto ko magpractice kaso di pa pwede so pahinga lang, okay naman sila coach, tapos ngayon pwede na magpractice so practice na,” Fajardo told FOX Sports.
The Cebuano native cited his knee injury he absorbed in the Philippine Cup finals that hindered him to join the action in previous sessions.
“Tuhod ko, yung nainjury ko. Okay naman, getting better naman tapos nagthetherapy ako, hopefully mapabilis na gagaling na talaga siya,” shared the two-time PBA MVP.
While guards Paul Lee, LA Tenorio, and streaky shooter Jeff Chan watched over in the sideline due to various minor injuries, Fajardo and the other Gilas frontcourt got specific sets of drills from coach Tab Baldwin.
“Okay naman, maganda yung tinakbo nung practice namin. Kailangan lang namin focus sa practice, kasi yung practice namin di naman ganoon katagal so go hard lang,” said Fajardo after the 2-hour training session.
“Yung bigs, more on footwork kasi malalaki yung France, magagaling sa footwork kaya isa yun sa kailangan naming iworkout,” he added.
Asked which international player going here for Manila qualifier he is excited to clash with, the Kraken has a simple answer.
“Lahat. Silang lahat.” — By Jason Mercene