The Samahang Basketbol ng PIlipinas (SBP) assures basketball fans that five-time PBA most valuable player June Mar Fajardo will once again wear the national uniform ‘in the near future’.
SBP president Al Panlilio promised that Fajardo remains a big part of the future for the Gilas Pilipinas program.
Panlilio even expects that Fajardo would have won eight PBA MVP awards and will be at his peak by the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the Philippines will jointly host alongside Japan and Indonesia.
The basketball chief also stressed that they will need the international experience and dominance of Fajardo in future tournaments.
“We all know what we can get from June Mar Fajardo as he has proven himself time and again on the international stage,” Panlilio said in a statement.
“He has served Gilas for so long and will continue to be a part of the program,” the SBP official added.
Panlilio gave the assurance after people noticed the exclusion of Fajardo from the 24-man national team pool for the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, which will start on Feb. 20.
Panlilio explained that Fajardo deserves an extended following his recent stints with Gilas Pilipinas and the campaign of the San Miguel Beermen for a grand slam in the PBA.
“The wear and tear of chasing a PBA Grand Slam and spending his off days with the San Miguel Beermen playing for Gilas will take a toll on anyone,” the SBP head said.
Panlilio further siad that they want to expose younger player and build an up-tempo team for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier.
He also reiterated that the decision is in line with their development plan for the national team in preparation for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“It’s the early days in our program so we wanted to test youngsters who may be deserving of a shot in future big tournaments,” Panlilio said.