GILAS talisman Ranidel de Ocampo played on Tuesday night against Japan despite nursing an MCL tear on one knee suffered the day before, coach Chot Reyes bared.
Reyes said De Ocampo sustained the MCL tear during Monday’s 90-71 victory over Japan but went on to play through the pain against Qatar, which Gilas defeated, 80-70, on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The outspoken national mentor said he’s just amazed at De Ocampo's strong resolve to sacrifice everything in order to contribute to Gilas’ goal of earning one of three tickets to next year’s Fiba World Championship in Spain.
“People don’t know that Ranidel de Ocampo actually has a (tear on his) MCL (medial collateral ligament) that’s why he said the other night that there’s no time to be tired," Reyes said. "And what he (really meant) was there’s no time to be injured."
“He (De Ocampo) banged his knee pretty badly. And again, that’s part of (basketball). Remember, Ranidel sprained his ankle (days before the tournament), and now his knee is bearing that brunt, but we’ll see, we’ll find out,” he added.
The 6-foot-5 De Ocampo managed to play 17 minutes, contributing four points and grabbing two rebounds, though his movement was noticeably slower due to the injury.
But the Talk 'N Text star has vowed to soldier on.
“There’s no time to get tired and we really have to be focused on the next game,” said de Ocampo. “Magiging masaya lang tayo kung makuha na natin yung gusto nating makuha. Siyempre, ayaw din naming nalulungkot ang mga kababayan natin pag natatatalo tayo.”
Gilas goes for the second round sweep of the tournament on Wednesday night against winless Hong Kong. The national squad has a slim chance of getting the No. 1 slot, which will fall on its lap if Qatar (3-1) beats unbeaten Chinese Taipei (4-1) in their 3 p.m. match by less than 15 points.