MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo is likely to miss the opening of the upcoming PBA season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a leg injury.
San Miguel head coach Leo Austria revealed that Fajardo sustained an infection that delayed his recovery.
The big man suffered a fracture in his right tibia in February 2020 and missed the ensuing All-Filipino Cup, the lone conference that the PBA held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hindi pa siya nakakapag-practice sa amin," Austria said of Fajardo, the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player.
"Unfortunately, na-delayed siya ng kaunti because of infection last December. So nagkaroon ng setback siya. Supposed to be, itong March na ito, kasabay na dapat siya magpa-practice sa amin eh," he added.
Instead, Fajardo is set to start his aqua training this week, which Austria said is part of the recovery process. The team has no plans to rush their star center back to action until he is fully recovered, the coach added.
Despite the setback, they are confident that Fajardo will be able to see action in the upcoming PBA conference, which is tentatively scheduled to start in April.
"I was assured by the doctor before na definitely, he would play this coming season," said Austria.
"Ang hindi ko lang ma-assure ay 'yung first game namin, dahil tentatively mago-open tayo ng April 9, so we don't know yet. But makukuha naman niya 'yung schedule niya through his training. I think, makakabalik siya this coming season," he added.
Without Fajardo, the Beermen ceded their grip on the All-Filipino crown last season. They still made it to the quarterfinals of the conference but lost to Meralco in two games.
Aside from welcoming back the "Kraken," San Miguel will also integrate two-time scoring champion CJ Perez into the fold after acquiring him in a trade with TerraFirma Dyip last month.
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