MANILA, Philippines — There were anxious moments Friday night when national team key cogs Ranidel De Ocampo and Jayson Castro tweaked their ankles during the Philippines’ 92-89 win over Kazakhstan in their exhibition match.
Seemingly every Filipino watching the tight game held their breaths when Castro, who unleashed 20 points against the Kazakhs, fell down hard and grimaced in pain while holding on to his foot with 1:36 left in the game.
But the guard quickly allayed any fears, especially that the Fiba Asia Championships is just a few days away.
“Nothing to worry naman. Alam mo naman ako pag-pag lang, okay na. Basta nandyan na, laro lang ng laro,” Castro told reporters after the game.
The same cannot be said for De Ocampo, though, as the veteran forward gingerly walked out of the dugout with his right ankle heavily wrapped.
“Yung point guard nila, sumabit paa ko sa paa nya tapos kumapit sa sapatos ko. Kaya lang hindi ko hiniga, nilaban ko kaya masakit,” De Ocampo, who only played limited minutes, said.
When asked of his initial assessment of the sprain, De Ocampo could not give a confident answer.
“Hindi ko pa masabi kung malala eh. Namamaga pa kasi ngayon eh,” he said. They will have the ankle checked on Saturday.
De Ocampo is just hopeful that, after all the time the team spent away from family and all the hard work just to get ready, he’ll be able to suit up for the real battle.
“Malungkot ako siyempre [yun una pumasok sa isip ko],” De Ocampo said. “Kasi ang tagal mo pinaghandaan tapos ganun. So sana gumaling naman agad.”