MERALCO will continue to miss two key players in its the semifinals series against Alaska in the PBA Governors Cup.
Veterans Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge won’t still be suiting up for the Bolts in Game Two on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena as they continue to recover from injuries.
De Ocampo has a slight tear in his calf, while Hodge hurt his back during the Bolts’ quarterfinals series against Phoenix.
Hodge has the more realistic chance of seeing action in the best-of-five series against the Aces, which the Bolts lead, 1-0.
Latest check up on De Ocampo showed the 36-year-old power forward has yet to fully recover from his injury.
“He will still be out with the same leg injury. No timetable for his return,” said coach Norman Black. “His injury is healing slowly.”
Hodge on the other hand, is already walking without the aid of a cane, but just the same the Meralco coach doesn’t see him fit yet to play again.
“I’m just judging by the way he been walking, and I don’t think he’ll be back next game. That’s for sure,” said Black.
Despite having two of their leaders in the injury list, the seventh-seeded Bolts however, had put together what Black refers to as ‘an amazing run’ after winning seven straight games – a franchise record – six of them were all do-or-die matches, including twice against Phoenix in the playoffs.
Still, nothing beats having RDO and Hodge back especially if the team is going deeper into the playoffs.
“It would certainly help us down the stretch if he (Ranidel) and Cliff Hodge could return to the team,” said Black.
“Cliff Hodge will help our defense considerably and of course, Ranidel will help us stretch the floor and give Allen Durham another shooter to surround him with.”