BLACKWATER’s worse fear just came true.
The Elite will miss the services of sophomore forward Art dela Cruz for the entire PBA Commissioner’s Cup after undergoing surgery late Tuesday night to repair the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the first day of Gilas Pilipinas’ three-day training camp in Tagaytay.
Doctors at the Makati Medical Center where Dela Cruz was operated, projected a four-month recovery for the former San Beda stalwart, including rehabilitation.
The timetable meant he will be out for the entire mid-season tournament that comes off the wraps this Friday.
“For sure, hindi siya makakalaro ngayong second conference,” quipped Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.
While the incident serves as a big blow to a Blackwater side that came a win short of making the playoffs of the last Philippine Cup, team owner Dioceldo Sy said the Elite can’t do anything about it since everything was an accident.
He added it’s also among the things the franchise – or any team for that matter – will have to expect as part of its commitment to the national team.
“What can we do,” he said in a short statement sent to SPIN.ph. “It’s call of duty and sacrifice for country’s calling.”
But it can’t be denied the loss of the 24-year-old native of San Miguel, Bulacan dealt a huge setback on the Elite’s campaign in the mid-season tournament as he serves as the other half of the team’s 1-2 punch along with rookie Mac Belo.
“The loss of Art has created a big vacuum in Blackwater’s offense in the Commissioner’s Cup,” said Sy. “It’s going to be hard, but I hope our team can adjust quickly.”
The injury to Dela Cruz brought to mind the same fate that befell Kelly Williams when Gilas 4.0 held its first day of practice as it prepared for the 2015 FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship.
Williams suffered an MCL injury just minutes into the national team’s first practice under then coach Tab Baldwin. The Fil-Am forward never got to suit up for Gilas in the Olympic qualifying tournament and missed the entire Governors Cup that same season.