SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Blackwater will have to make do with a 14-man roster playing their last five games in the PBA Philippine Cup in an eight-day span.
The Elite announced guard Paul Desiderio is now out of the Clark bubble after sustaining an injury aside from taking care of a personal matter.
Team manager Jacob Munez confirmed Desiderio’s exit, although he didn’t mention when the former University of the Philippine stalwart left the team.
“Injury (minor) and personal matter,” he said.
"Hindi na," Munez added if the team still expects to have Desiderio back in the bubble.
Desiderio's unplanned departure was just the latest setback for Blackwater, which was isolated in the bubble and had two games postponed after one of its players was labeled a 'probable case' of COVID-19 inside the bubble.
The league later said confirmatory tests showed the result was 'false positive.'
The Blackwater guard's exit also left the team one player less going into a brutal final half of the eliminations where the Elite will have to play their remaining games compressed in eight days including two back-to-back playdates.
The Elite are now in the process of playing the first of those two scheduled games, having taken on defending champion San Miguel on Tuesday in a 90-88 overtime heartbreaker. They play Meralco next on Wednesday.
The team’s other back-to-back games will be on Nov. 8 and 9 against Rain or Shine in another morning game (10 a.m.) and Phoenix Super LPG (1 p.m.).
It doesn’t help the team any that three of its big men are currently playing through injuries. Mac Belo and rookie Maurice Shaw are currently nursing back spasms while Marion Magat has a hamstring injury,
Belo skipped playing against the Beermen, but is ready to rejoin the team against the Bolts.