Painters prepare for Fajardo return


    RAIN or Shine is among those bracing for the return of San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo and it is showing in the preparations being made by the Elasto Painters.

    Getting Bradwyn Guinto from NorthPort, according to Elasto Painters coach Caloy Garcia, would give him more big bodies to throw at Fajardo in the coming PBA season.

    Fajardo sat out the last Philippine Cup, the lone tournament salvaged from the pro league’s 45th season, to recover from a fractured shin he suffered in practice last February.

    Now fully healed and steadily working his way back into game-shape, the six-time MVP is set to return into action for the Beermen starting with the Philippine Cup kicking off in early April.

    “You know when June Mar comes back it’s better to have more big bodies than before,” Garcia told Malaya-Business Insight.

    Guinto should sure help in that area. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, the No. 14 pick overall in the 2015 draft would be joining hands with veterans Beau Belga, Norbert Torres and Jewel Ponferrada, not to mention incoming sophomore Prince Rivero, in manning Rain or Shine’s frontcourt.

    “Set na kami sa bigs,” noted Garcia, adding whatever other moves they may make now will depend on the final list of applicants for the March 14 rookie draft.

    The list is set to be released at the close of office hours on Jan. 27. Whether a special draft for Gilas pool players would be held prior to the regular draft should be decided on the following day.

    “Actually… when I talked to the bosses, we’re not sure who will be eligible,” Garcia said, referring to team co-owners Terry Que and Raymond Yu.

    “We also don’t know about the Gilas picks,” added Garcia.

    “Kasi kami gusto sana regular drafting. Kung sino ma-pick ng Gilas, ipahiram mo, something like that. Kasi masisira ‘yung purpose ng drafting pag pinick mo then hindi mo naman magagamit.”

    Rain or Shine holds the rights to the No. 5 pick overall, plus three second round picks, and Garcia hopes to fill up the remaining void in his team through those picks.

    “Basically, ang kulang namin sa guard,” he said. “Kasi kailangan ng tulong ni Rey  (Nambatac). Kris (Rosales) played well last conference kaya siguro guard or wing. But before coming to that, it would depend also on the best available talent.”