TNT KaTropa turn emotional as ‘brother’ Ranidel moves on after 9 years
Ranidel de Ocampo is not only a great player, he’s a class act as well as his former TNT coaches and teammates offered nothing but praise for the versatile forward.
De Ocampo was traded to Meralco on Monday in a three-team deal, ending a nine-year stint with the Talk ‘N Text franchise that won six PBA titles during that stretch.
His departure has left his teammates and coaches in TNT emotional, as they took to social media to thank De Ocampo and wish him luck.
“Countless unforgettable moments [Ranidel] through the years. Always a champion on and off the court. He will bring that winning attitude and find success wherever he goes. [I’m so impressed with this person. Thanks for everything, Del]! It will be weird to not see you in practice anymore,” TNT assistant coach Josh Reyes posted on his Instagram.
“We are thankful for Ranidel’s service and sacrifice for TNT for the last 10 years. Built good relationships and memories along the way. He will surely be missed,” TNT head coach Nash Racela said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
The 35-year-old de Ocampo was the Finals MVP in two of those title runs with Talk ‘N Text, bagging the award in the 2013 Philippine Cup and 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.
While De Ocampo is leaving his longtime team, he is joining a familiar face on the Bolts bench—at least for the remainder of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
“He and I have built a great friendship thru all our battles together both with TNT and Gilas, so I’m looking forward to having him around,” his former longtime teammate Jimmy Alapag told INQUIRER.net.
“I feel he’s one of the best forwards to ever play in the PBA and an absolute winner who brings championship experience and leadership to the team,” added Alapag, who is an assistant coach for the Bolts but was tapped to call the shots for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League.
TNT veteran Harvey Carey, one of the last remaining players who suited up during Chot Reyes’ stint as coach, summed up de Ocampo as a “warrior” in his farewell message.
“1 word describes @jutaca33: WARRIOR. Times may change but what was accomplished cannot be erased. Good luck tol,” Carey said on Twitter.
Even KaTropa rookie Roger Pogoy spoke of how valuable de Ocampo was to his young PBA career despite just spending nearly a full season as his teammate.
“Kuya @jutaca33, I will never forget all your advices, both for the basketball and life. Salamat kuya,” Pogoy wrote on his Twitter account.
The 13-year veteran played his first four years in the league as a member of the defunct Air21 Express and would likely end his career with Meralco but Talk ‘N Text will always be his team.
He expressed his affection to the franchise moments after he got traded as he posted a team photo with the words, “Will always be my family.”
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