June Mar Fajardo ruled out for 2023 SEA Games campaign

June Mar Fajardo will not play for Gilas in the upcoming SEAG men’s hoops tourney (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team just received a huge blow after San Miguel Beermen’s franchise player June Mar Fajardo was ruled out for the upcoming 2023 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) confirmed last April 26, 2023.

Fajardo, who was a dominant force for Gilas during the last SEA Games men’s basketball tournament campaign when they won the silver medal, is still recovering from a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee.

PBA’s only six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) suffered the injury during the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week basketball tournament.

Fajardo bumped knees with Ryukyu Golden Kings’ big man Jack Cooley when he was establishing his position in the shaded lane midway through the opening frame.

After Fajado felt the bump, the PBA multi-champion immediately limped his way to the sideline and asked for a substitution on the San Miguel bench.

The development was also announced by Gilas team manager Butch Antonio and added that Fajardo failed to show up in the last practices of the national team.

Since injuring his MCL last March, San Miguel’s medical team announced that the big man will have at least six weeks of recovery period and will have to undergo minor rehabilitation before participating in full 5-on-5 team drills.

Aside from Fajardo, Roger Pogoy of the TNT Tropang Giga will also be missing their revenge tour due to a fractured finger.

Included in the initial national team pool that will also be absent are Jamie Malonzo of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and recently crowned PBA champions Mikey Williams of TNT.

On the other hand, members that already showed up in the Gilas practices are veterans Chris Newsome, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Christian Standhardinger.

Meanwhile, the young bloods that will most likely suit up for the national team are Mason Amos, Arvin Tolentino, Aaron Black, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.