Fajardo’s minutes will depend on Tautuaa’s performance, says SMB head coach

June Mar Fajardo made a triumphant return to the court on Wednesday, after suffering a calf injury during the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals just last month.

In an impressive display, Fajardo played for nearly 25 minutes, contributing 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks to San Miguel’s decisive 109-97 victory over Rain or Shine.

“He was cleared by the doctor on March 8. The doctor gave him the go signal to play today,” said SMB head coach Jorge Gallent.

The injury setback had forced Fajardo to sit out the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers’ first window games against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei. Despite his absence on the court, the seven-time PBA MVP traveled with the team for the Hong Kong match, showing his unwavering support from the sidelines.

Coach Gallent revealed that Fajardo had battled through the pain during the challenging finals, highlighting his dedication to the team’s success.

“In the finals, he was really playing injured. I think he forced himself to play Game Five and Six. Hats off to him. He is a true professional. He is hurt, he plays, because he knows he is a big factor to the team. That’s what’s good about him,” said Gallent.

As Fajardo eases back into the game, Gallent indicated that his playing time will be contingent on the performance of his backup, Mo Tautuaa.

The 34-year-old Fil-Tongan made a solid impact on Friday’s game, contributing seven points and six rebounds in 19 minutes of play.

“It really depends on Mo because Mo really played well. He would get his minutes. If Mo plays well, then Mo plays on the court. It really depends on the other substitutes of June Mar,” said Gallent.

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