KIA coach keeping fingers crossed after import N'Diaye poked in eye by Abueva
KIA import Hamady N'Diaye prepares to shoot free throws with one eye closed after getting poked by Alaska forward Calvin Abueva. Jerome Ascano

KIA assistant coach Chito Victolero is keeping his fingers crossed that shot-blocking demon Hamady N'Diaye will be fine after leaving the game prematurely on Friday to have his left eye checked at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

The Senegalese import got poked in the eye by Alaska forward Calvin Abueva during a rebound sequence late in the third period with KIA behind, 45-58.

N'Diaye managed to make his two foul shots with his left eye closed, but had to leave the game for good with still 1:51 to go in the third canto to have his eye further examined.

“Iyung mata niya nasundot eh. Parang may scratch, so pina-check up siya sa Cardinal,” Victolero told, shortly after the Carnival suffered a 101-63 beating at the hands of the Aces.

The 38-point loss was KIA’s worst in its young history, surpassing the 87-55 humiliation at the hands of Barangay Ginebra during the Philippine Cup.

The team’s anemic performance left Victolero scratching his head as it endangered KIA's quest for a place in the top four - and a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“In my pre-game huddle, (I told the players) it’s a very important game for us. Eh we started strong kasi, so it was a close game, until pagdating ng last two minutes ng first quarter, nawala na yung energy,” rued Manny Pacquiao’s lead assistant coach.

At 3-3, KIA fell into a tie for seventh spot with Talk ‘N Text with the tournament’s single-round elimination already at the halfway point.

The Carnival have five days to get their acts together before facing surprise leader Barako Bull Energy next Wednesday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava