When will PBA resume?
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2020 - 12:00am

There’s still no clarity as to when the PBA Philippine Cup will resume after only a game was played to open the league’s 45th season last March 8. There were two games scheduled at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on the second playing day, March 11, but the TNT-Phoenix and NLEX-NorthPort contests were called off when the PBA Board of Governors decided to suspend the conference until the coronavirus pandemic is put under control.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the other day nothing’s sure as to when the season will reopen. As soon as the national government declares the situation is back to normal, Marcial said he will recommend a period of one month to prepare the teams for the resumption which could be sometime in June. The suspension has given injured players time to recover and rehab without losing games.

In six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo’s case, he’s doing leg exercises 45 to 60 minutes a day in his condo unit. He’s getting ready for gym therapy to strengthen his right tibia that underwent surgery to repair a fracture. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. George Canlas, who performed Fajardo’s operation, said there’s no rush to recover from the injury “specially now that everything is so uncertain.” Other injured players like Phoenix’ Jake Pascual and Dave Marcelo, NorthPort’s Robert Bolick and Jonathan Grey, Blackwater’s Mac Belo and Carl Bryan Cruz, Magnolia’s Rafi Reavis and Meralco’s Raymond Almazan and Ranidel de Ocampo are also taking advantage of the suspension to rehab on their own while games are on hold.

Fajardo was on the bench for the first half of the season-opening game between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia at the Big Dome. Before the contest, he was given his sixth MVP trophy during the Leo Awards program. Fajardo moved around in an electric scooter. Fajardo said he couldn’t stay for the second half because his right leg started to numb. He left to finish the game watching on TV at home.

“It’s not only me,” said Fajardo, downplaying his absence in San Miguel’s 98-74 win. “Happy ako kay Mo (Tautuaa), siya pa nga ang Best Player of the Game. Advice ko kay Mo ay just to stick to coach Leo’s (Austria) system. Maganda ang laro ng team.” Tautuaa started at center in Fajardo’s place and delivered 20 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots in 41:11 minutes. The Beermen outshot Magnolia from the floor, 48.7 percent to 38.3, and hit more three-pointers, 12-of-32 to 6-of-16.

Regarding former teammate Christian Standhardinger who was traded to NorthPort last conference, Fajardo said of course, he misses the Fil-German. “Happy ako for him,” he said. “Lumabas ang laro niya sa NorthPort.” Standhardinger was named Best Player of the Conference in the Governors Cup after leading NorthPort to fourth place. He joined the Batang Pier after six games in the eliminations and led the No. 8 team to an upset over No. 1 NLEX in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said while staying at home during the enhanced community quarantine, he keeps busy watching past games and videos on how the Elasto Painters played “to improve the team when we get back.” Garcia said Rain or Shine’s four rookies Adrian Wong, Clint Doliguez, Prince Rivero and Vince Tolentino are “a great addition” to the team. “They work hard, no complaints, no attitude,” he said. “During this lockdown, our trainer sends our players some workout stuff that they can do at home to at least stay in shape. They know how important it is for their profession that they should diet and stay in shape in a time like this. But it’s harder for the older players.”

Garcia said the Elasto Painters played six tune-up games before the season started. “From there, we’ll just try to see where we can improve,” he said. “Hope this crisis ends soon so we can all go back to work.”

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