Injuries barred both June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter from playing in the September FIBA window against Iran and Qatar.
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Fajardo, Slaughter banner Philippine cast in next FIBA window
Nelson Beltran ( - September 17, 2018 - 2:57pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, this early, is looking forward to the next window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers set late this year where Team Philippines could finally have June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter to banner a lineup for back-to-back home games against Kazakhstan and Iran.

“We are hoping that in the December window, both Greg and June Mar will finally be healthy to represent Gilas Pilipinas. Both games will be played in Manila,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.

“We again ask our beloved countrymen to pray for our Gilas Pilipinas team as they gallantly play for flag and country in these all-important games in the FIBA Asia World Cup 2019 qualifiers,” Panlilio also said.

Injuries barred both Slaughter and Fajardo from playing in the September FIBA window against Iran and Qatar. Slaughter is nursing a sprained ankle sustained in their most recent game in the PBA Governors Cup while Fajardo is down with a stress fracture on his shin that could keep him out of the games for six weeks.

SBP officials are hoping the two Cebuano behemoths would be healthy and ready to join the national team as it takes on Kazakhstan on November 30 then tangles with Iran on December 3.

Both games will be played on home front before Team Philippines plays back-to-back games on the road versus Qatar on February 21 then Kazakhstan on February 24 to close out its campaign in the FIBAWC eliminator.

The Nationals must be in the Top Three in Group F to gain an automatic berth in the world joust in China.

There will be more available players for Team Philippines by the February window.

Andray Blatche, Jason Castro, Terrence Romeo and Troy Rosario will serve just one more game suspension. Out practically the rest of the qualifiers are Calvin Abueva, RR Pogoy, Carl Bryan Cruz and Jio Jalalon.

But national coach Yeng Guiao would not lack the manpower since the PBA has assured the SBP of full support and cooperation through the 2019 World Cup should the Nationals make it.

Meanwhile, the national pool members are rejoining their mother ball clubs for the resumption of the PBA Governors Cup Wednesday.

NorthPort mixes it up with Blackwater at 4:30 p.m. then Phoenix Petroleum slugs it out with Meralco at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Before the PBA breather to give way to the FIBA qualifiers, Barangay Ginebra (3-0), Magnolia (2-0) and Blackwater (2-0) are three teams left with clean slates. Alaska Milk and Phoenix are right behind the frontrunners at 3-1.

Rain or Shine has yet to play a single game as the team is given a respite after the participation of its core players in the country’s Jakarta Asian Games campaign.

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