BARANGAY Ginebra’s chances of forcing a sudden death match against Alaska suddenly dimmed after import Zach Mason suffered what doctors feared was an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear on his right knee in the first half on Wednesday night.
Mason suffered the injury when he slipped and twisted his knee awkwardly while trying to shake off Nic Belasco’s defense early in the second quarter of the seventh-seeded Gin Kings' match against the twice-to-beat Aces in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals.
The 6-foot-4 Mason was seen grimacing in pain as he held on to his right knee during the 10:53 mark of the second period and the Gin Kings holding on to a 21-14 lead against the Aces.
The former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga standout walked gingerly back to the team’s dugout with the help of a Ginebra utility and doctors feared the worst after the initial examination.
“The most we can do is try to limit the swelling, but most probably an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will be ordered tomorrow (Thursday) just to confirm the severity of the injury, if it’s a partial or complete tear. Pero malamang ACL, twisted eh,” Ginebra team doctor Rick Pagulayan told Spin.ph.
Pagulayan said Mason heard something pop in his knee the moment he slipped.
“Narinig daw niya (Mason) may narinig siya na pop. He slipped on his own,” explained the Ginebra team physician. “I think he tried to slide inside, but he really twisted the knee. I just hope it’s not serious, But we’re not ruling out an ACL, so now we try to lessen the pain and to lessen the swelling. That’s the best we can do.”
Without Mason on the floor, the Aces rallied to take a 39-33 edge at the half.
Ginebra rejoined the team on the bench during the second half but was never fielded in again as the Aces turned back a brave Kings fightback on the way to a 92-81 victory.