Two-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is ready to plunge into action if reigning champion San Miguel Beer reached Game 7 of the best-of-seven championship round of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup against Alaska.
After his wards prevented a sweep by the Aces last Sunday via a 110-104 overtime win in Game 4, Beermen head coach Leo Austria announced that the injured left knee of Fajardo is getting better though he is still exercising extreme caution to allow the two-time MVP to play.
The Aces are still enjoying a comfortable 3-1 lead in the series.
“There is improvement on Fajardo’s left knee and it looks good but I don’t like to force him to play even though he is insisting that he can play. I don’t like to aggravate his injury,” Austria told reporters during interview. “We want to give him enough time to recover.”
The 6-foot-10 Cebuano center received his fourth overall Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award and his third straight Philippine Cup BPC trophy since joining the league in 2012 as Petron Blaze’s (now San Miguel Beer) top overall rookie pick.
“But if we can make it to Game 7, Fajardo will play for us because February 3 is enough time. So far, June Mar can walk now. All he need is rest. Again, we’ll take it one game at a time and miracle is just around the corner,” Austria added.
Without Fajardo, former National Collegiate Athletic Association Rookie MVP awardee Gabby Espinas led the Beermen in Game 4 scoring 21 points via 8-of-12 shooting in the field in addition to 14 rebounds.
San Miguel Beer aims to become the second team to win a PBA title from a 1-3 deficit. In 33 PBA finals, only Ginebra hurdled a 1-3 deficit to beat the defunct Shell team in a sudden death Game 7 of the 1991 first conference finals.