Injured cadet Russel Escoto vows to support Gilas every step of the way
Gilas cadet Russel Escoto watches practice from the sidelines. Jerome Ascano

DESPITE still nursing an ACL injury, big man Russel Escoto vowed to personally support Gilas Pilipinas in its bid for the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.

"Siyempre andito ako para sumuporta sa kanila," said Escoto when he made a visit to the national team practice to boost its morale as it prepares for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier.

"Nakakainggit pero wala naman tayong magagawa," added the slotman out of Far Eastern University.

The 6-foot-6 Escoto said he'll try to be at the Smart Araneta Coliseum everyday starting with Gilas' game against Myanmar on Friday.

"Sana nga manalo sila," he added.

At the same time, Escoto is proud fellow cadets Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon, and Roger Pogoy were selected as part of the Final 12 of the national team's roster for the Seaba.

"Deserving naman sila dahil pinaghirapan nila yun," he said. "And bagay sila sa sistema na pinatatakbo ni coach Chot."

Escoto said he has just began rehabilitation after undergoing surgery to repair his torn ACL.

"Next week mag-weights na ako," he said.

Still, no shooting for him.

"Pinagbawalan ako ng therapist ko. Sabi niya dahan-dahan lang muna," said the Mahindra rookie.

At the earliest, Escoto said he'll be back in action by October, meaning there's a chance he can play for the Floodbuster starting in the new PBA season.

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