Fajardo, AJ Edu out for Gilas in first window of Asia Cup Qualifiers

Inquirer.net February 20,2024 - 08:45 AM

Fajardo

Gilas Pilipinas centers June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu during the national team’s open practice at Philsports Arena.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines— June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu and announced on Monday that they will not be joining the Gilas Pilipinas in the first window of the qualifiers slated on Thursday and Sunday.

Edu will be sidelined due to a meniscus injury that has also kept him out of action in the Japanese B. League. The Cypriot-born Filipino, who plays import for the Toyama Grouses, said he is expected to return in “a month or two.”

“For me, I’m going to be out of this window because of my meniscus injury but I’m due to recover, hopefully in a month or two, and finish out my season in the B.League and I’ll be good to go for the OQT but for this window, I won’t be a part in terms of playing along with June Mar Fajardo,” said Edu.

“I’m really blessed to have the opportunity to still be out here, supporting the team and just learning the system that coach Tim (Cone) has envisioned for this squad.”

READ: Paris 2024 or LA 2028, Tim Cone wants Olympic stint for Gilas

Fajardo, on the other hand, will sit out the Gilas games due to a calf injury he sustained in Game 4 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

The seven-time PBA MVP played through the injury in Games 5 and 6 of the PBA Finals and helped San Miguel Beer clinch its 29th championship.

“It’s saddening because I want to play for Gilas but even my doctor told me to rest it but I’m doing my best for it to heal right away so I can catch up in practice,” said Fajardo in Filipino.

Despite the absence of the two, Gilas will still have a pair of capable bigs in Kai Sotto and Japeth Aguilar.

The two stepping in for Edu and Fajardo is a testament of Cone’s “next man up” mentality, according to Sotto.

.“Props to kuya Japeth for stepping in that spot and we just have our next man up, of course for all the players as well. We’re missing two key players, so the rest will have to step up and everybody’s ready for the upcoming window so I’m confident with this team,” said the Ateneo product.

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TAGS: AJ Edu, Fajardo, Gilas, Olympics, Qualifiers

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