Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The return of the Giant: June Mar Fajardo excited in his Gilas Pilipinas comeback
June Mar Fajardo was grinning from ear to ear as he made his triumphant return to Gilas Pilipinas.
The 25-year-old Fajardo is rejoining Gilas for the first time since being part of the national side during the 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila and the Fiba World Cup in Spain last year.
He was supposed to be part Gilas again in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, China last September. But injuries to both feet prevented the stocky San Miguel Beer top slotman from lending his service to the national team again.
“Nandito ulit ako, excited ako sa pool na ‘to,” Fajardo told the sports media right after the team’s first practice on Monday night at the Meralco gym.
Gilas will be holding its once-a-week practice starting this month, before going full blast in its preparation for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) sometime in June when the pro league takes a break.
The 6-foot-10 reigning PBA MVP was also beaming with excitement because he now has the chance to play alongside Barangay Ginebra’s young big man Greg Slaughter, a long-time rival during their collegiate days in Cebu.
“Ako nga din eh excited din makasama si Greg kasi almost five or six years din ata kami nagkalaban so ngayon first time namin magkasama, tapos sa Gilas pa, isa lang yung team namin,” he said.
Fajardo said with this brand new chance to play for Gilas, he vows to give his very best to help the national team, which is shooting for no less than a berth in the Olympics in Rio, Brazil next year.
“Basta gagawin ko ang lahat para makatulong lang ako sa team,” he said.
“Sana walang ma-disgrasya or ma-injury sa games namin sa PBA. And sana sa preparasyon namin sa qualifying, wala ring ma-injured.”
The agile San Miguel star center averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds during the world championships.
He saved the best for last when he banged in 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help Gilas break the Fiba World Cup win column with its 81-79 overtime win over Senegal.