NASH Racela is left in the dark on the status of Joshua Smith after the import limped out and failed to finish Game 3 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals against Ginebra o Thursday night.
Racela groped for words when asked what happened to the 25-year-old Smith, who didn’t return to the game in the second half after hurting his foot midway in the second quarter.
The hulking import later left the Smart Araneta Coliseum with the final period still ongoing but the Kings already leading by a mile.
“I don’t know. No idea,” said Racela after the Texters’ 125-101 loss. “Puwede akong magpa-uso pero wala nga akong alam.”
“Again stop asking me about Joshua kasi wala nga akong alam,” he stressed when further pressed if he’s confident Smith would be back for Game 4 on Saturday. “We’ll let you know once we get something.”
Racela later proceeded to see team owner Manny V. Pangilinan and other top TnT officials in a late game meeting.
But SPIN.ph learned from team insiders Smith went to the hospital to undergo a check-up on his foot, which he hurt after Sol Mercado stepped on it.
Racela later admitted the import did go to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
“Check-up lang lahat,” he said on Smith, who finished with only four points and seven rebounds in nine minutes of play, two days after scoring a league-best 35 markers in the Texters’ 107-103 win in Game 2.
The TNT coach explained not playing Smith from the third quarter onwards was a decision made by the team in an effort to ‘just make sure he’s okay.’
But Racela credited Ginebra counterpart Tim Cone for what he described as a ‘wonderful adjustment the champion coach did going to the crucial game.
“It’s a game of adjustments,” admitted Racela, whose Texters’ still lead the best-of-five series, 2-1 despite absorbing what was so far their most lopsided loss in the semis.
“He asked for help and he got his help today. It is what it is.”