MANILA, Philippines—It’s never been easy for June Mar Fajardo to look back on those days where he was sidelined by a broken leg.
Surprisingly, the one part he has gotten over was that the injury was partly because of his insistence on playing on despite being advised to rest. Surviving on pain killers to mask his problems with a hairline fracture on his right tibia, Fajardo doubled-down on basketball, putting more stress on his leg.
“I don’t regret what happened,” the 31-year-old Cebuano said in Filipino in an interview with SportsIQ. “I even think that my bone got stronger because of the metal rod in it and the healing process has been okay.”
For someone who is down to just a few days to main a comeback in the Philippine Basketball Association, Fajardo is understandably in good spirits, even joking that he deserves a new moniker.
“I’m not the Kraken anymore, I’m the Terminator, I’m bionic,” joked Fajardo.
What he went through, however, was no joke.
Fajardo revealed that he already had a hairline fracture in his right tibia in 2018 but he chose to play through the injury as he wanted to play for both Gilas Pilipinas and San Miguel Beer.
Gilas played in the 2018 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers and the 2019 World Cup while the Beermen were on the cusp of a Grand Slam in 2019.
“Our physical therapist recommended that I take a break for three to six months because tests showed I had a hairline fracture in my tibia, I think that was in mid-2018, but I wanted to play and I also had Gilas duties then,” said Fajardo in Filipino.
“He then told me to skip Gilas in 2018 but I told him I can’t because I wanted to play for my country. I played for the whole 2019, including playing with Gilas. The whole time I was playing the most I did was take painkillers.”
That hairline fracture eventually led to a full-on injury in February requiring him to undergo surgery and miss out on the 2020 Philippine Cup.
“I practically had no rest during 2018 and 2019, the most I did was skip practices. There was no time to rest because I wanted to win, we all wanted to win.”
Fajardo, the six-time Most Valuable Player, and the Beermen open their Philippine Cup campaign against Meralco on Sunday at Ynares Arena.
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