INJURED Alaska forward Gabby Espinas may be missing out on the team’s offseason training camp being supervised by visiting Australian coach Rob Beveridge, but he vowed to be ready for action when the PBA unveils its 40th season this November.
“Rehab lang, pinapalakas ko lang,” Espinas told Spin.ph over the weekend after undergoing surgery on his right ankle which he fractured during the semifinals of the season-ending Governors Cup.
“Pero siguro mga November pa (ako lalaro), mga halfway (ng Philippine Cup). Eh ako lang naman ang nagmamadaling bumalik, kasi nakaka-miss din maglaro,” added the Alaska big man out of Philippine Christian University.
The 6-foot-4 forward said since the surgery performed on him by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas, he has been walking normally and will slowly return to basketball activities little by little.
“Strengthening lang muna ako. Eh nakaka-inggit nga kasi puro takbuhan sila eh,” said Espinas, referring to the Aces’ hard training under Beveridge, a one-time champion coach in Australia’s National Basketball League who led the Perth Wildcast to the league title in the 2009-10 season.
Espinas said he never expected his ankle injury to be serious when he left the court limping in Alaska’s 123-121 overtime loss to Rain or Shine in their Governors Cup semifinal series last June.
It was only when he underwent X-ray the following day that he realized how serious it was.
“Hindi ko in-expect na basag na pala, pero di ko ramdam yung sakit, 'till mag-X-ray kinabukasan,” recalled the 32-year-old former NCAA Rookie of the Year-MVP.
“Pero ganun talaga, di naman natin gustong ma-injure tayo, so antay antay lang.”
In his absence, offseason acquisition Eric Menk has been filling in his spot and serves as Sonny Thoss’ back-up at the slot.
Menk, 39, is coming off a one-season stint with GlobalPort, where he averaged 4.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in more than 17 minutes of action in 24 games.