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Tiebreaker Times
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Cariaso praying Ashaolu only suffered cramps

Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso is hoping that Olu Ashaolu did not suffer anything serious following an injury scare during their 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup meeting with Blackwater, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The veteran mentor admitted that he’s yet to know the full extent of his import’s injury. A broadcast report, though, said that he hurt his calf, which made him leave the game at the 7:47-mark of the third canto. He did not return afterwards.

Ashaolu left with only 10 points, majority of which came from the free throw line. He also had seven rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes.

Fortunately, the locals stepped up in his absence. The Aces won, 98-75, to get back on track after losses to Barangay Ginebra and TNT Tropang Giga.

“I’m praying that it’s no more than cramps. Sana ‘yun lang,” Cariaso said. “Obviously, it’s severe enough and serious enough where hindi siya makabalik, ‘no. So even if I wanted to bring him back, I wasn’t going to be able to.

“We’re praying that it’s just severe cramps. We’ll diagnose him and see what happens, and we should know within the next few days.”

This marks yet another setback for Ashaolu, whose two previous PBA stints with NLEX were short-lived because of injuries. In fact, he only played a total of 12 games for the Road Warriors across 2017 and 2019.

So far, the 33-year-old forward has played five games with the Aces, with per-game norms of 19.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals.

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Asked if the team has a contingency plan should matters worsen, Cariaso said that he’s hoping, too, that they won’t have to resort to such.

“That’s something that you have a plan for. We hope we never have to execute what that plan is,” said the former cager turned mentor.

The good thing about the situation, though, is that the Aces have time to assess things. Their next game will still be on January 5 versus Meralco.

“I think we’re fortunate where we have a little bit of time. We’re not playing on Christmas or the day after Christmas, so ‘yung next schedule namin next year na,” said Cariaso.

“So, we have a couple of weeks, I think that helps us and benefits us, so we’re not gonna make a drastic decision unless we’re absolutely sure.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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