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Injury forces Fajardo out.

The injury bug just bit Gilas Pilipinas and got the Filipinos' best man in the middle.

June Mar Fajardo, the most dominant big man in the Gilas lineup, has begged off from joining the squad in the Fiba Asia Championship that unfolds next week in Lebanon after straining his calf in San Miguel Beer's PBA game last Wednesday.

San Miguel team officials furnished Gilas coach Chot Reyes a copy of Fajardo's medical report with the 6-foot-10 center needing at least two weeks of rest before the injury is evaluated again.

PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa was furnished the same copy of Fajardo's medical report.

Fajardo was ordered to immediately rest and missed the Beermen's crucial game against Star on Friday night.

Without Fajardo, the Beermen lost for the first time in three games in the Governors' Cup, 104-98, and dropped to a tie with defending champion Ginebra at 2-1.

The Hotshots zoomed to their third straight win to tie idle Meralco at second behind NLEX's 4-0 start.

Fajardo last played for Gilas in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association championship almost two months ago in Manila.

His withdrawal from the team comes as a big blow after Gilas already failed to get naturalized center Andray Blatche on board, with the former Brooklyn Net in the NBA fearing for his security in Beirut.

Gilas has been bracketed with China, Iraq and Qatar in Beirut, with the Filipinos to open up against the powerhouse Chinese on Wednesday.

For the Philippines to advance outright to the quarterfinals, it would need to sweep its first three games, otherwise, the Filipinos would be relegated to a qualifying round to get to the quarterfinals.

The good thing about resting Fajardo now is that he could be 100 percent ready for the World Cup Qualifying.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Aug 5, 2017
Words:356
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