CEBU CITY – The University of San Carlos’ championship hopes suffered a huge blow after top wingman Ian Ortega suffered a torn ACL in practice that is expected to keep him out of action for the next six to nine months.
The news was confirmed by Warriors assistant coach Julian Macoy and attending physician, Dr. Timothy Dejano. Macoy said that Ortega will undergo surgery to repair his ACL on Friday and will start the rehabilitation process under Dejano’s supervision as soon as possible.
According to Macoy, Ortega drove hard to the basket during scrimmage and abruptly stopped to pull up for a jumper. However, his knee buckled, leaving Ortega in a crumpled heap on the floor.
Ortega had been out of action for most of the second round of the eliminations as well as the semifinals as he suffered an injury to the same knee after falling hard during a game against the University of the Visayas Green Lancers. He had been strengthening his knee and was preparing to give it a go during the finals before the unfortunate incident.
The development certainly dampens USC’s chances of capturing its very first championship in the Cesafi.
Without Ortega, head coach Junthy Valenzuela is expected to give more minutes to former Ateneo Team B member Kiefer Lim, Fil-American Ian Tagapan and Prince Vaughn Malana.
Game One of the finals will be played on October 13.