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    Ranidel de Ocampo hardly concerned over heavy minutes in first game back from injury

    Feb 10, 2016

    RANIDEL de Ocampo showed no rust in his first game back for Tropang TNT after a long layoff due to injury, and was hardly concerned with playing relatively heavy minutes in his return. 

    The Texters star forward was forced to play 28 minutes with import Ivan Johnson suspended and Troy Rosario injured in the team’s 108-102 win over Blackwater that got its title-retention bid going.

    “I played him long minutes,” TNT coach Jong Uichico admitted. “Mababaw yung rotation namin sa bigs.”

    But De Ocampo doesn’t mind, at least for now.

    “Isang laro pa lang naman, so tingnan natin sa sunod na mga laro,” the 34-year-old cager said. “Tapos babalik pa naman si Ivan. Siguro mas ma-manage ni coach yung minutes lalo na pagbalik pa ni Troy at maganda nilalaro ng team namin.”

    “Sa ngayon, hindi naman ako nagwo-worry ‘dun,” he added.

    It seemed like De Ocampo never got injured as he finished with  20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, four boards, three assists, and two steals.

    “Hindi naman sa hindi ako nahirapan,” he insisted. “Nahirapan pa rin, syempre, kasi ang tagal kong hindi nakalaro eh. Siguro dahil na rin sa sobrang excited maglaro tsaka gustong-gusto ko na makabalik maglaro. Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng nagdasal na makabalik ako sa paglalaro.

    “Sobrang na-miss ko maglaro,” he added. “Sabik na sabik ako maglaro. Nagpapasalamat ako kay God na pinabalik niya ako sa paglalaro.”

    De Ocampo, though, feels he’s yet to get back to tip-top shape.

    “Sa ngayon, kailangan ko pa ng ilang laro para talagang masabi ko na kumpleto na ako eh,” he said. “Pero kahit papaano, proud ako dahil maganda yung pinakita ng team namin.”

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    But the Gilas Pilipinas mainstay stressed there’s nothing bothering him mentally now.

    “Na-adjust ko na yung isip ko,” he beamed. “Nung mga unang practice ko, dun ako medyo na-ilang. Pero kailangan ko pala talagang maging confident para pag naglaro, wala akong iniisip.”

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