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SBP assures Fajardo still part of Gilas long term plans, explains pool exclusion to give him 'extra break'

by Reynald Magallon, January 11, 2020 2:04pm

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas assured that despite June Mar Fajardo's exclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup, the five-time PBA MVP remained to be a pillar of the Gilas program in the future.

SBP already released a statement explaining the exclusion of Fajardo in the pool which caught many basketball observers and fans surprised.

The statement explained that the federation opted to give the younger generation the exposure needed as they country prepare for the 2023 World Cup which the Philippines will be co-hosting with Indonesia and Japan.

"For the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, we are looking to expose our younger players and work build an up tempo team.As we said in the recent past, this is a development plan for the national team in preparation for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup," said SBP President AL Panlilio said in the statement.

"It's the early days in our program so we wanted to test the youngsters who may be deserving of a shot in future big tournaments," he added.

Panlilio assured that Fajardo will remain a vital part of the Gilas program and just giving the 6'10" center the extra time to rest following SMB's grandslam chase while simultaneously attending his national team duties in the World Cup Qualifers, the World Cup and in the SEA Games.

"We all know what we can get from June Mar Fajardo as he has proven himself time and again on the international stage. He has served Gilas for so long and will continue to be part of the program. However, at this stage, we believe that he deserves the extended break," said Panlilio.

"The wear and tear of chasing a  PBA Grandslam and spending his off days with San Miguel Beermen with Gilas will take toll to anyone," the statement further reads.

Panlilio said Fajardo will be on his peak form come the 2023 World Cup and the team will need his inside prescence and experience in the country's third straight participation to the world meet.

"Fajardo remains to be a big part of the  future of the Gilas program. He will in-fact be at his peak when the WC2023 comes along," he said.

"We will need his dominance and his international experience and we assure all his supporters that they will see Fajardo wear a Gilas jersey in the near future."

With Fajardo out, Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar, the returning Marc Pingris and youngsters Isaac Go and Justine Baltazar will be tasked to man the paint for Gilas. the national team will be facing Thailand and Indonesia in February.

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