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Fajardo is latest Gilas casualty

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It appears the problem keeps on pilling for Gilas Pilipinas.

Already with three players begging off because of injuries, the national team training pool received another bad news after veteran center June Mar Fajardo sat out with a swollen right knee in yesterday’s practice session at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

The 6-10 Fajardo, who observers believe is a shoo-in in the 12-man roster of the national team in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here, talked to Baldwin about his situation.

“It’s tough, always tough,” said Baldwin.

“I always wish that the players are healthy, but injuries always happen,” added Baldwin, who saw a reenergized Fajardo in previous practice sessions since they resumed last week.

The reigning PBA back-to-back Most Valuable Player (MVP) left early before Baldwin could finish the training session to have his right knee checked up at the Makati Medical Center.

Fajardo injured his right knee midway in the Commissioner’s Cup when he accidentally stepped on the foot of former import Tyler Wilkerson. The injury was not serious as the Cebu native was able to finish the conference by helping his team San Miguel Beer reach the semifinals.

Fajardo, who played for the national team in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here and in 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, said he is optimistic about his current status, and that he is positive he is returning to action in the next practice session scheduled tomorrow.

“Okay lang. Di naman malala. Next time, kaya na namang makapag-practice ulit,” said Fajardo.

With a diminished roster, Baldwin was forced to end the practice session early.

“I feel sorry for our big men today. They had no substitutes. Japeth (Aguilar), Ranidel (de Ocampo), Ping (Marc Pingris) and Mo (Tautuaa), they worked extremely hard in practice today,” said Baldwin.