Injury sidelines Petron prized rookie

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 17 2012 10:11 AM | Updated as of Oct 17 2012 06:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Petron top rookie center Junmar Fajardo has been confined at the Cardinal Santos Hospital due to groin injury he suffered in their last game against San Mig Coffee at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Sunday.

The 6-foot-9 Cebuano slotman faces a possible surgery at worst that would sideline him for three to four weeks.

“Bad luck. he’s already playing well,” Petron coach Olsen Racela told The STAR.

Fajardo sustained the injury while playing his best game in the pros so far, netting 16 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and one block. The Boosters, however, dropped an 84-90 setback to the Mixers.

He was accidentally hit by Marc Pingris, but played through the injury in a losing cause.

It was a sad development for the Petron team off to a struggling 1-2 start in the new PBA season.

Meanwhile, coach Norman Black completely takes over the reins at Talk n Text as the Texters play their third game in the 38th PBA season, going up against the Air21 Express at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

With Black back in full-time coaching in the pros, the Texters hope to get past the Express at 7:30 p.m. and wrest the solo lead in the PBA Philippine Cup with a third straight win.

The Express, however, will try to defy the odds, gunning for a second win in four starts.

“We have to slow them down and limit their transition points,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.

Meralco tangles with Globalport in the other game at 5:15 p.m. with the Bolts chasing a third consecutive victory after a losing season debut versus the Texters.

“It is going to be a huge battle against Globalport. They are fighting to get their first win and that makes them very dangerous,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

“We are not leaving anything to chance. We must make sure that we sustain our intensity on defense. The same mindset exhibited against Alaska and Ginebra is required to continue our winning streak,” Gregorio added.

Much of the attention, however, could well be on the Texters as they start building the foundation of their future with their new coach.

“Right now, we’re still pretty much a work in progress,” said Black moments after TnT outlasted Globalport, 108-104, in a battle Friday.

The night before, Black left the collegiate play in a blaze of glory, winning a Five-Peat for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP.

He let interim coach Nash Racela handle the Texters most of the way versus the Batang Pier, taking over only towards the end with the game in the balance.

“Probably nobody noticed we had lots of miscommunications out there. The players are still learning the system,” said Black, back in the PBA as head coach after 10 years of absence.

“Our focus is to get as many wins possible while still trying to blend. Once it happens, we’ll be a better team,” Black also said.