FOR San Miguel, it didn't come as a surprise June Mar Fajardo was back in his dominant self even after more than a month of absence following a throat surgery.
Deputy coach Jorge Gallent said the 6-foot-10 Fajardo has been in game shape already even before he returned to active duty and play his first game in the PBA Commissioner's Cup against Terrafirma on Wednesday
"Even if he sat down for three weeks, but June Mar was already practicing for two weeks," said Gallent following San Miguel's 131-103 rout of the importless-Dyip at the Philsports Arena.
"We're just waiting the doctors' advice that he can already play," added Gallent, who temporarily takes over the coaching chores from Leo Austria. "But practices, he still dominates practices."
The six-time MVP translated that in actual game as he banged his way inside for 20 points and nine rebounds against Terrafirma in his first outing since hurting his throat courtesy of an inadvertent elbow from former Rain or Shine import Steve Taylor Jr. in San Miguel's Oct. 9 game against the Elasto Painters.
Fajardo, who recently turned 33, later had to undergo operation that made him missed the Beermen's last seven games.
While he was already in uniform and sat on the San Miguel bench a week ago, it was only in the game against the Dyip that Fajardo was finally unleashed anew.
"June Mar has always been great," said Gallent, not the least surprise with the way Fajardo ran rings around defenders Eric Camson, Joseph Gabayni, and Christian Balagasay.
The return of Fajardo definitely gave San Miguel's playoffs bid a big push.
The Beermen have now won two in a row and returned at the .500 mark at 5-5 to climb in solo sixth place. (RG)