WHEN games are on the line and some Barangay Ginebra scorers turn gun-shy, head coach Alfrancis Chua admitted he silently wishes he has someone like a Dylan Ababou to pull from the bench.
“May isang game kami, foul trouble sina Mark (Caguioa) at Chris (Ellis) tapos hindi pumutok yung iba kong shooters, talagang hinahanap ko si Dylan,” said the pony-tailed Ginebra mentor.
“Gusto ko na ngang pagsuotin ng jersey si coach Allan (Caidic) nun eh," added Chua with a laugh.
Ababou feels the same way, saying it pains him no end to see the Gin King struggle to a 0-3 (win-loss) start in the PBA Commissioner's Cup while he sat helplessly from behind the Ginebra bench.
“Oo, kumbaga yung hatest feeling ko yung nasa likod ako ng bench, tapos hindi ako nakakatulong," said the Leyte native. “Yun ang pinaka-ayoko kaso no choice, kailangan kong magpagaling muna."
The former University of Santo Tomas star and Gilas Pilipinas mainstay suffered an ACL injury on his right knee during the Philippine Cup and has been sidelined for three months now.
By doctors' estimate, he will need three more months of therapy and strengthening exercises before he can rejoin the rest of the Gin Kings on the floor.
Ababou can't wait to return but in the meantime, he's doing everything to get to that point.
The sophomore forward with the blue-collar work ethic just came from a 45-day therapy in Los Angeles and right now he is back in the team’s camp undergoing some more rehab and strengthening.
Here's a video of him putting in the work in rehab, plus an interview that at one point was interrupted by playful teammate Mark Caguioa:
“Hindi pa ako pinapatakbo, three months na ako pero meron pa siguro akong three months or four months, at the most, bago makalaro," said the former UST Tiger, who averaged eight points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in two games with the Kings last conference.
“Nag-iimprove naman na yung injury saka yung binubuhat ko sa training bumibigat na. Okay naman siya."
And as for the question on when he will return, Ababou is optimistic that come June, he will once again be wearing the famous Ginebra red-and-white jersey.