BARANGAY Ginebra star Mark Caguioa on Tuesday joined the team’s practice for the first time since spraining the MCL (medial colateral ligament) on his right knee late in their ill-fated campaign in the PBA Governors Cup.
This season's league MVP participated in the team's conditioning drills and ran in a straight line for the first time since suffering the injury during the Gin Kings' 94-101 quarterfinal loss to sister team Petron last September 26.
His return to practice at the Green Meadows gym in Quezon City comes 19 days after the injury, putting him well ahead of schedule in his recovery and right on course to being fit in time for the start of the new season on November 17.
Doctors had anticipated him to be back fit after four to six weeks.
“This is the first time I’m running since my last game. At okay naman. I hope makabalik na rin ako like Japeth (Aguilar). Ngayon siguro balance and working on my legs na lang,” Caguioa said.
However, the streak-shooting guard has yet to do laterals and admits he will have to overcome the mental trauma of suffering two MCL injuries in a span of six months last season before regaining top form.
[For full story, see Doc confirms MCL sprain but Caguioa expected to be back in time for new season]
“Psychologically and mentally, once you twist and turn, dun mo maramdaman pero right now, strengthening lang talaga,” said the 33-year-old, who finished the seasons with averages of 17.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 32.1 minutes of play.
“Important lang naman sa akin is everyone will be healthy. I don’t want yung katulad ng nangyari kay Japeth because yeah, we got Japeth (at the start of the Governors Cup), then he got injured, tapos ako naman. The conference before that, I also got injured,” Caguioa told Spin.ph.
Ginebra can also expect a major boost after getting the top pick overall draft, which it can use to pick either seven-footer Greg Slaughter or versatile big man Ian Sangalang.