Fajardo open to rejoin Gilas but gives way to Asi for Rio
By Richard Dy, contributor Updated Friday September 18, 2015 - 7:00am

June Mar Fajardo I File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Injured San Miguel Beer big man June Mar Fajardo isn't shutting the door on playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the near future.

But should the national squad clinch an Olympic spot in Rio next year, he'd rather see the same roster participate in the Summer Games.

Speaking before sports scribes after the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Wednesday, the 6-foot-10 Fajardo said it would actually be unfair to just come in and deny Asi Taulava a chance to play in the Olympics if ever.

"Parang nakakahiya naman kasi sila (current Gilas final 12) naghirap eh tapos ako sasali lang. Kapag nakakuha sila ng gold at nakapasok sa Olympics, siya (Taulava) na lang ang maglaro, parang gift na lang niya sa sarili niya kasi siya naman nagsikap eh," said Fajardo, who received his first Defensive Player of the Year award Wednesday night.

The 26-year-old Fajardo said he's still young and will definitely have a lot of chance to suit up for the national team in the future.

But for Taulava, the chance of playing in the Olympics could be his last since the current NLEX starting center is already 42.

"(If Taulava gives Gilas spot to him), mahihirapan din ako sa desisyon na iyan eh kasi parang last na niya siguron iyan sa Gilas eh. Tapos ako may chance pa naman makalaro, ngayon, kung sa awa ng Diyos makapasok ang Gilas sa Olympics, gift niya na sa sarili niya iyun," he added.

Gilas is currently in its final build for the Fiba-Asia men's championships, set to start next Wednesday in Changsa-Hunan, China, with the winner automatically punching a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Fajardo said since San Miguel resumed practice this month, he has been on and off with the team's drills as he continues to undergo rehab due to plantar fasciitis on both feet.

"Sa ngayon, nagre-rehab pa ako ng paa ko kasi sumasakit pa, kaya di rin ako masyado makasali sa practice," explained Fajardo, who ended his third PBA season with a second MVP, two Best Player awards, a second straight Mythical First team citation, while leading the Beermen to two league championships.

The former University of Cebu slotman posted a career-best 17.4 points, to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last season.

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