Gilas Pilipinas rules out June Mar Fajardo for FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

June Mar Fajardo will not be playing for Gilas in the 1st window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team will enter the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers with a banged-up squad due to the absence of superstar center June Mar Fajardo.

The development was confirmed last February 18, 2024, after the Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Star announced that Fajardo is currently dealing with a torn calf injury.

It was newly designated Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone who relayed the message and also confirmed that no replacement was made yet for the Cebuano native.

Fajardo sustained his torn calf injury during their PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship campaign against the Magnolia Hotshots Chicken Timplados.

According to Cone, AJ Edu, the national team’s main power forward, will also be out of the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Edu is still recovering from his torn meniscus injury and is still undergoing rehabilitation. Replacing the athletic frontcourt anchor is Japeth Aguilar, also a member of the Gilas World Cup roster last year.

Without Fajardo and Edu, Gilas will have to rely on Aguilar’s international experience as well as their young guns Carl Tamayo, Kai Sotto, and Kevin Quiambao.

The frontcourt trio is already committed to playing for the national team against Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.

Also boosting the squad for the upcoming FIBA tournament are Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Dwight Ramos, and CJ Perez.

Justin Brownlee, the national team’s main naturalized player, will also be back in action after already serving his three-month suspension due to a positive drug test last Asian Games.