MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort big man Christian Standhardinger feels "devastated" after learning of the injury to former teammate June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer.
Fajardo, the PBA's reigning five-time Most Valuable Player, will miss the upcoming Philippine Cup – and possibly the rest of the season – after suffering a complete fracture in his right tibia during San Miguel's practice last February 3.
Standhardinger, who was drafted No. 1 overall by San Miguel in 2017 before getting traded to NorthPort in October 2019, said the development was "devastating."
"It's devastating. I think we all agree that June Mar is one of the greatest freaking guys there is," he said. "It makes me very sad, and that's something that we cannot take lightly, you know."
Standhardinger is no stranger to injuries: he is currently dealing with a recurring issue in his left knee that will prevent him from playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
Fajardo's injury should remind him and other players of the importance of taking care of their bodies, the Fil-German forward said.
"You gotta be careful with how you work out, and how much you work out, and how much you push your body," he said. "As athletes, we only have that one body and we only have that one lifetime."
Even though Fajardo is expected to miss a long stretch of the PBA season – as well as Gilas Pilipinas' upcoming competitions – Standhardinger has no doubts that the "Kraken" will make a full recovery.
He cited his former teammate's work ethic and predicted that Fajardo will "recover as quickly as possible."
"I wish him only the best," said Standhardinger. "I can just wish for his quick recovery somehow, because that's something serious, and yeah, it's devastating."
"There are not many words to say. It's devastating and sad," he added.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.