A SERIOUS face injury almost put an end to the playing career of Matt Rogers, but his unbending will and faith in God helped him get back on his feet and play again.
“Having my faith in God reassures me that He has a plan for my life through trials, tribulations, injuries or cuts or whatever struggles I go through,” Rogers shared to Spin.ph. "God always has the best plan for us."
Until now, Rogers still vividly remembers that one unforgettable night in Lebanon when he suffered that career-threatening injury. Rogers was playing in his debut game as an import in the strife-torn nation when he was accidentally elbowed in the face.
So bad was the damage to his face that he had to leave the Middle East country after only five days and go back to the US to undergo full reconstructive surgery.
The 6-foot-11 Rogers was idle for the next eight weeks as he had to recover fully from the operation.
Through those trying moments, Rogers found solace in his deep faith to God, which he said strengthened his Christian belief and paved the way later for his basketball career to blossom further.
Rogers had an opportunity to join the Indiana Pacers after playing for the team in the summer leagues last year where he averaged decent numbers of 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals.
He failed to make the cut of the Pacers’ final roster, but the Southwest Baptist University alumnus found his way to Spain after landing a contract with the Leyma Natura Coruna in the Liga Espanola de Baloncesto (LEB) Gold League.
From the Spanish league, Rogers then accepted the latest offer to suit up for San Mig Coffee, which he hopes to help defend the PBA Commissioner’s Cup starting on February 8.
During the Mixers’ tune-up game against Rain or Shine at the Reyes gym over the weekend, Rogers had his hands full defending the Elasto Painters’ 7-foot-3 Croatian import Bruno Sundov.
The Mixers got pounded by the quick Elasto Painters in the final period and tumbled to their third straight loss during the season break via an 83-92 decision.
Despite San Mig’s early struggle in the team’s buildup for the mid-season conference, Rogers remained optimistic the reigning champions won’t carry over their 0-3 record to the real battle.
“We’re getting better every day. We’re trying to learn as a team. We’ve got three or four new players in the team so it’s hard,” Rogers said.
Unfamiliarity with Tim Cone's triangle offense has been the major issue some of the new players in the team are facing, particularly rookie guard Alex Mallari, forward Leo Najorda and Lester Alvarez, all of whom the team acquired recently in a blockbuster 10-player, five-team trade.
“We need to learn to play together. But after two weeks, I think we’ll be really as good as we expect our team to be. We’re getting ready to take care of business by February 8,” he added.