Even with just 11 healthy bodies, Gilas Pilipinas have managed to produce magical outings in the group stage, sweeping Group B of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup to book an automatic quarterfinals berth.
But the next stage of the tournament will be a different animal, as the best-of-the-best from the continent will figure in knockout games to determine the region’s champion.
Wanting to battle it out with his brothers-at-arms, June Mar Fajardo, who was diagnosed with a partial tear on his right calf last August 4, is working double time at the gym.
Coach Chot Reyes and the squad will remain ready with or without the 6-foot-10 center come the quarterfinals.
“We came into this tournament mentally prepared to not have June Mar. If he’s able to come in, then that’s a bonus for us,” Reyes told Sports5.
“I’ve long ago given up on thinking of who are available. I just focus on who are ready to play.”
Gilas will face the winner of the South Korea/Japan tiff on Wednesday, August 16.
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