What Fajardo misses most: Interacting with fans

    BIG SMILE: Jun Mar Fajardo flashes a big smile with his fans after receiving one of his many awards.
    BIG SMILE: Jun Mar Fajardo flashes a big smile with his fans after receiving one of his many awards.

    JUNE Mar Fajardo knows it will take a while longer before PBA games can resume.

    But more than taking to the court himself, a scenario he would only realize in another seven months at least, there is another thing San Miguel Beer’s prized center is missing most.

    “’Yung interaction with the fans,” Fajardo told Malaya-Business Insight.

    “Siyempre, miss ko na rin iyung makasama mga teammates ko sa court, iyung  mga coaches, utility, iyung mga physical contact sa kanila,” added Fajardo.

    “Pero nakaka-miss talaga iyung makasama, makahalubilo mo mga fans. Iyun ang miss na miss ko na talaga.”

    Fajardo has been put on the sidelines by a shin injury he suffered in practice early last February. Shortly after immediately undergoing surgery, the 6-foot-10 slotman was forced to stay at home by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The PBA, too, has been shut down by the health crisis after a Fajardo-less SMB side beat Magnolia last March 8 at the start of the Philippine Cup and now targets September as the earliest it could resume all its activities, particularly the remainder of what should have been the season-opening conference.

    Fajardo has given up all hopes of playing at least a game for the season. Although he can now walk without crutches, his rehab has been deferred with the prohibition on an attendant physical trainer.

    “Meron akong ginagawang exercises dito sa bahay, pero ‘yung rehab wala pa. Bawal pa kasi,” related Fajardo.

    “Medyo matagal talaga, mula sa healing process hanggang sa strengthening tapos makatuntong ng (playing) court,” Fajardo adde.

    “Pero kailangan talagang tiisin, process nga kasi. Ayaw ko ring madaliin para pagbalik ko talagang 100 percent ready ako at walang nerbiyos.”

    Once he is fit enough and able, Fajardo relishes the chance to join his teammates anew in their remaining games for the season – even if the record six-time season MVP would only be acting as a cheerleader.

    “Looking forward talaga ako doon, ‘yung kahit nasa dulo ka lang ng bench o kahit sa likod.

    Para makatulong sa team kahit moral booster lang,” he said.

    Should the games resume strict health protocols would be observed with the distinct possibility of games being played without a live audience.

    That tugs at Fajardo’s heart. “Iba ‘yung may fans, pero siyempre kailangang maghigpit ang PBA kasi hindi mo alam kung sino merong virus,” he said.

    “Kailangang gawin pero sayang talaga, mami-miss ko talaga iyung maka-mingle ka ng mga fans.”