BARANGAY Ginebra won’t be having its best perimeter defender come the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
Nards Pinto is out for the next three weeks after going down with a Grade 2 ankle sprain in the Kings’ game against the NorthPort Batang Pier last Sunday.
Pinto underwent a medical examination on Wednesday and was diagnosed with the injury that could keep him out for almost a month.
See: Ginebra rolls past Converge, stays in running for twice-to-beat spot
“He could possibly be out three weeks before he could get back on the court. So you’re talking about three weeks and another week to prepare him, that’s if the rehab goes the right way as the doctors expect,” explained Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“Knowing Nards he could easily limit that number of weeks and come back sooner because he’s such an incredible worker and he has such a high tolerance for pain,” added the champion mentor. “But we’re prepared to play without him for the next three to four weeks.”
Good thing, the 32-year-old Pinto won’t be undergoing surgery and would be put in a walking booth in the next two weeks, according to Cone.
The playoffs kick off either Sunday or Wednesday depending if there would be a knockout game for the remaining quarterfinals berth.
Depending on the result of the final day of the eliminations, Barangay Ginebra still has a shot at landing at No. 2 for a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs, or end up at No. 3 and play a best-of-three series.
Either way, the Kings won’t be having their best defender in the backcourt moving forward.
“Tough break for him because he’s a key to a lot of our defensive schemes and he’s probably our best backcourt defender,” said Cone.
“So it certainly is going to hurt us in the playoffs when you’re going to play against guys like Paul Lee, (Robert) Bolick, or all of these great guards not having him around will definitely be hurtful.”
Without Pinto though, Barangay Ginebra still won its final game of the eliminations, a 115-96 rout of Converge to end its campaign with a 9-3 record for third place.