MUCH as he wants to get back playing in an official game June Mar Fajardo still can’t help but welcome a delay in the start of the PBA’s 46th season.
“May more time makabalik,” San Miguel Beer’s prized center, recovering nicely from a leg fracture he suffered last February, told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Magiging mahaba-haba ‘yung time na makapag-practice, makuha kumpiyansa ko ulit, ‘yung sa galaw,” added Fajardo.
The shin bone has healed well, related Fajardo, although there are still some periodic tightness. “Nag-ta-tight ng konti, pero release-release lang,” he related.
“Once na napainitan na okay na, nawawala rin. “
Fajardo is currently in his hometown of Pinamungajan, Cebu, and initially planned on returning to Manila in late January for the start of the Beermen’s practices.
“Kung kailan balik sa practice saka lang ako babalik ng Manila. Kasi wala ka namang gagawin din sa Manila,” offered Fajardo..
That has now been put on hold, however, with the PBA announcing it plans to start its new season on its 46th anniversary on April 9, 2021.
“Pero tinitingnan pa naming lahat kung ano mangyayari,” Commissioner Willie Marcial has said.
“Sa April, sukat naman tayo na three conferences pero matatapos (season) ng January,” added Marcial.
Expect a vastly rejuvenated Fajardo by then.
The injury has prevented the six-time MVP from playing in the PBA bubble in Pampanga, which saw other SMB players getting injured, mainly causing the team to see its bid for a sixth straight Philippine Cup title foiled.
Fajardo admitted being frustrated by his inability to help his team and additional motivation to come back stronger got stoked even more after the Beermen failed to make it past the quarterfinals.
The return to the place where he grew up has also helped Fajardo’s steady recovery, although there is no real timetable yet on when he could really engage in full-contact practices.
“Hindi ko pa alam, kasi kailangan ko pa balance, tapos nagagawa ko as of now workouts… parang back to fundamentals lang muna. Pero wala pa ‘yung core (strengthening), ‘yung tatakbo wala pa,” revealed Fajardo.
“Maganda naman progress ko. Ang iniisip ko lang, di pa ako nakakatakbo, ‘yung full-speed.
Siyempre iba takbo sa court. Ginagawa namin nag-ba-bike muna kami (daily). Siyempre, di naman ganoon kabilis makukuha ‘yung rhythm, game-shape.”
After months of being cooped up in his apartment due to the pandemic, Fajardo’s mental health has also progressed as well upon his return to the place where he grew up and where his family, relatives and friends live a simple life.
“Ma-i-stress ka lang sa Manila kasi wala ka namang gagawin du’n. Di ka naman p’wedeng lumabas, ganu’n. Mas okay dito. Nakapagpahinga tapos fresh hangin. Masarap talaga dito, ma-re-relax ka,” said Fajardo.
Although he has indulged in his favorite mais rice Fajardo has watched his diet which is vegetable and fish with little or no red meat, a progress he chronicles through his regular daily vlogs on his YouTube channel, AHOS Gaming.
Fajardo did not get to celebrate his 31st birthday with his family last Nov. 17 but he was personally present in his mother Maritess’ own natal day last week. It gets even better as they and their close family will now be all together for the Christmas holidays.