DESPITE the gravity of his injury, rookie Russel Escoto remains positive he’ll get back into action - both for Mahindra in the PBA and Gilas Pilipinas - earlier than expected.
Escoto said he’s taking this latest setback in his career with optimism, pending a second and third opinion on his injured left knee initially diagnosed as partially-torn MCL, according to coach Chris Gavina.
He’s been there, done that.
“Same knee din na na-injure sa akin nung college,” he recalled of the time he had to sit out for more than six months to recuperate from the injury he suffered four years ago that made him miss an entire UAAP season with Far Eastern University.
“Pero naka-recover din naman at nakapaglaro pa rin,” added Escoto. “May purpose naman siguro dito si God kaya stay positive lang.”
Escoto said as per the result of his first MRI, doctor told him it was an MCL Grade 1 injury, stressing that it was only strained when his knee buckled while positioning for a rebound during Mahindra’s Philippine Cup game against NLEX last week.
He’s scheduled to undergo another test two weeks from now, by which time he expects the swelling on the injured knee to subside.
“Pinapababa pa namin yung maga bago ako mag MRI uli. Hopefully after nun makapag-rehab na ako,” said the Gilas cadet member.
But somehow there was a tinge of regret in his voice when he told SPIN.ph about the loss opportunity for him at a time when he’s started to get at ease with the way things are being played in the pro league.
The 24-year-old big man from Angeles, Pampanga played well in the Floodbuster’s last two games before the injury came. He was actually in the groove when went down in the second quarter of the game against the Road Warriors, already with 12 points in 12 minutes of play when the unfortunate incident happened.
“Nakakalungkot lang kasi yung momentum ko nakukuha ko na, tapos eto ngayon nagkaroon ng setback,” said Escoto. “Pero sabi ko nga positive lang tayo.”
The injury also meant Escoto may skip playing for Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship to be held here in May. The meet is the first international tournament the national team under coach Chot Reyes will be joining and serves as qualifier to the Fiba Asia Cup slated this August
“Kinausap na ako ni sir Butch (Antonio) and coach Chot na rin, ikinamusta and nalam nila yung condition ko,” said Escoto. “Naitindihan naman nila.”
Although he’s just mostly at home resting, Escoto said he’s now walking on his own. He even already removed the immobilizer earlier put on the injured leg.
“Ok na siya kaya inalis ko na (yung immobilizer),” said Escoto. “Sana nga makapag-start na ng rehab.”
As he said, just stay positive.