Brian Heruela remains far from where he would want to be in terms of his shape, but he is nonetheless happy to be back playing without any pain.
The TNT guard is just relieved that he no longer has to deal with a Baker’s cyst in his right knee, which kept him sidelined for about half a year.
“It feels amazing, feels great,” he said. “I am very grateful to be able to do what I like to do, which is to hoop and be with my teammates.”
Heruela played his first game back on Wednesday night and received a fitting welcome as the Tropang Giga beat Phoenix Super LPG, 96-88, for their first win in the PBA On Tour after starting out with seven straight losses.
The 34-year-old understandably struggled to find the mark as he went just 1-for-7 from the field but still finished with three points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
“May kaunting rust at the start,” said lead deputy Sandy Arespacochaga after the game at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. “But after that, he was back to his old self, playing defense, playing tenacious defense for us, quarterbacking the team.”
But regardless of how he played, all that matters for Heruela is to have finally returned to the fold without being limited by his last injury.
The Baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, that grew on the back of his right knee was too much of a hindrance that he couldn’t fully stretch his right leg.
He still managed to play in the tail end of TNT’s Commissioner’s Cup campaign last season until the doctors deemed it best to have it taken out. The nine-year veteran no longer saw action in the Governors’ Cup.
“I guess it’s the wear and tear,” he said. “They took out the cyst and patched up my damaged cartilage, that’s why it took over six months to recover.”
Six months later, Heruela is back playing, and now he looks to make the most out of the Tropa’s remaining three games in the On Tour to regain his form.
“I’m very glad I got that out of the way and got back to hooping again,” said the five-time PBA champion, who was cleared to play just last week. “I’m very happy to play. Hopefully, I will get better moving forward and stay healthy.”