WHILE admitting the injury of Yousef Taha could be a blow to his frontline, Petron coach Gee Abanilla remained noncommittal on the chances of former cornerstone Danny Ildefonso regaining his place in the Boosters' lineup in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Taha had been building on a solid game with six points on 2-of-2 shooting in six minutes before the big man went out with a knee injury in the second quarter of the Boosters’ 97-87 opening victory against Globalport on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“We’re kinda lean in that position,” said Abanilla, who only has two other legitimate centers in the fold in starter June Mar Fajardo and Doug Kramer who the coach also uses at the four spot. “It just means we like other guys stepping up.”
Jason Deutchman is the only other big man of Petron, leaving an opening for the return of Ildefonso - a 15-year veteran and two-time MVP who was mysteriously dropped by the team last week.
Abanilla, however, refused to comment on the possibility of an Ildefonso comeback, saying the lineup change that left him out of the lineup was the call of management.
“I think it’s a direction that management has set also. I just want to find out what’s going to happen. For me, I cannot question the direction that we’re going to take,” Abanilla said. “Right now, we’re just assessing things. Hopefully maging okay.”
As for Taha's injury, the Petron coach added: “I don’t want to think about it at this time ... Sabi naman niya (Taha) he’s gonna be okay. But just to be sure, I want him to have an MRI . I don’t want risking his career na pipilitin lang niya.”