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SBP rules out June Mar Fajardo for FIBA November window

SBP rules out June Mar Fajardo for FIBA November window
June Mar Fajardo’s return to Gilas Pilipinas will have to wait (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed that San Miguel Beermen superstar center June Mar Fajardo will not be suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifiers.

PBA’s only six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) had to be sidelined for at least six to eight weeks after undergoing throat surgery.

Fajardo suffered an unfortunate throat injury during their game against the Rain or Shine Elastopainters when opposing import Steve Taylor Jr. hit him with an inadvertent elbow.

Taylor Jr.’s elbow that hit Fajardo’s throat then caused a laryngeal fracture that began to bother him after their game against the Elastopainters.

Fajardo’s recovery timetable will have conflict with the national team’s preparation against Jordan on November 10 and Saudi Arabia on November 13.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes already announced Fajardo’s absence and is looking to pick a replacement from his national team pool.

Previously, Fajardo was always present during the national team’s Monday practice session in preparation for the November window.

SBP executive director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios added that Fajardo won’t be able to beat the last sessions of their intensive training camp given that he will be out for at least six weeks.

Fajardo’s return was a highly-anticipated request for the national team fans after putting up a monster performance for Gilas during their silver medal finish at the Southeast Asian Games.

After his SEA Games stint, Fajardo missed all the FIBA windows after leading San Miguel to the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup championship title.