By REYNALD MAGALLON
San Miguel Beer will need to navigate through a huge chunk of its elimination schedule without seven-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.
The 6-foot-10 big man was diagnosed with a fourth metacarpal fracture on his left hand and could be out for four to six weeks according to team manager Gee Abanilla.
Fajardo sustained the injury during SMB’s 115-110 victory over Rain or Shine after going for a block on the attempt of rookie Adrian Nocum midway through the third frame. The SMB pillar immediately clutched his hand and was seen in pain at the baseline after that sequence.
Fajardo tried to play through it before he was subbed out late in the same quarter. He was not fielded until the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter with his hand heavily taped up.
“Malayo sa bituka,” said Fajardo in a short chat with reporters at the end of the contest and before going to the hospital where the feared injury was confirmed.
That should be a cause of concern for the Beermen who seemingly struggled in their past games when Fajardo was sidelined by injury.
Fajardo missed some games last season after undergoing surgery on his throat and suffering a knee injury in the latter part of the Governors’ Cup.
More than that, the Beermen was also bitten by injury bugs to start the season with Terrence Romeo and Vic Manuel down with knee injuries, Jeron Teng with hamstring issues and rookie Kyt Jimenez with orbital fracture.
Marcio Lassiter and Jericho Cruz also missed a couple of games earlier in the conference before finally getting back into the rotation of the Beermen.