Barangay Ginebra San Miguel center Prince Caperal has a piece of advice on PBA’s six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer on his plans to return in the 46th season this April.
Stay on vacation mode.
“Babalik na si June Mar? Mag-rest na muna siya ano ba naman yan,” said Caperal during his appearance on the Saturday sports show The Chasedown over One PH on Cignal TV.
“Ano ba naman yan nakaka-isa pa lang kami babalik na agad? Mahirapan na naman, bugbog na naman ako nito.”
Of course, the statements of Caperal were all for fun.
Truth is, the league’s Most Improved Player for 2020 welcomes the return of the “The Kraken” after missing the PBA restart in a bubble in Pampanga last year due to a leg injury.
“I’m glad na babalik na si June Mar. Sobrang sarap makipag-laro kay June Mar… MVP. Sobrang nakaka-challenge. Sobrang laking tao pero soobrang bait. Ang hirap dikitan masyado mabait kasi.”
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo did not play in the bubble after hurting his right shin in March, which required operation. However, now that he is fully recovered, he is expected to play in the coming Philippine Cup.
When healthy, Fajardo is without a doubt the best player in the PBA, particularly during the all-Filipino conference after he led SMB to six straight championships – the last was in 2019.
SMB performed well in the elimination round even without Fajardo, and the early exit from the bubble by Terrence Romeo because of a dislocated right shoulder, as it clinched the fourth spot and twice-to-beat advantage in the crossover quarterfinal round.
However, against the Meralco Bolts, the Leo Austria-mentored San Miguel was beaten twice in the playoffs that led to its exit and end to its reign as Philippine Cup champion.
Ginebra won the title against TNT KaTropa, the first for the franchise in the Philippine Cup in 13 years, or since winning the title back in 2007 under former coach Jong Uichico.
Caperal said that with Fajardo and Romeo coming back, he expects a tougher competition, and he knows that all eyes are on them as the Kings try to repeat as champions of the first conference.
“Ganun talaga pag nagcha-champion, may target ka sa likod. Mahigpitan ang labanan,” said Caperal, who averaged almost 10 points per game with four boards and one assist in the last Philippine Cup.