MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel superstar June Mar Fajardo has already received the green light to start playing again, nearly a year after suffering a fracture in his right leg.
This, according to San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua who bared that the "Kraken" should be ready to go by the time the new season of the PBA tips off.
"He's okay," Chua said of Fajardo during an appearance on "The Chasedown," Saturday. "Actually, we're expecting him to play next conference or next season."
"Doc (Raul) Canlas said na may go-signal na siya for him to play," he added.
Fajardo suffered a complete fracture of his right tibia during a San Miguel practice on February 3 of last year, which ruled him out for the entire season.
He ended up missing just the All-Filipino Cup as the PBA salvaged just one conference of its 45th season in a "bubble" in Clark, Pampanga.
Without Fajardo, the Beermen could not defend their Philippine Cup title, as their dominance of the conference ended after five years. Sister team Barangay Ginebra emerged as the champions, beating TNT Tropang Giga in five games in the finals last December.
Chua admits that Fajardo's absence was a game-changer not just for San Miguel but for the league as a whole.
"Mabigat kung nandoon si June Mar, 'no," he said.
"I'm not saying that Ginebra cannot beat them kasi tinalo na rin nila sa championship ang San Miguel, may import lang nga, si (Justin) Brownlee, sa kanila si (Renaldo) Balkman," he added, referring to the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup wherein the Gin Kings beat the Beermen in six games.
"But iba rin siguro na 'yung laro 'pag andoon si June Mar, 'no."
The PBA's 46th season is tentatively scheduled to tip off on April 9, though the league has yet to decide on the format of the competition as they are still studying the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another conference in a bubble remains an option, but the PBA is also considering a "closed circuit" system wherein teams will go from their homes to gyms and back, with the league strictly monitoring the movements of the players and coaches to prevent an outbreak.