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Health struggles behind, Keith Datu makes impactful return to ROS

Keith Datu is just glad to be back after missing multiple games for Rain or Shine in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup due to health problems.

The rookie big man finally returned to action and played a key role in the Elasto Painters’ come-from-behind win over NLEX on Friday evening, marking a victorious return for him after being stricken with pneumonia.

“I know it’s just my second game back, but I’m very grateful to Rain or Shine for their patience, allowing me to get healthy again,” he told reporters moments after their 113-101 win at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

“Just grateful that Rain or Shine allowed me to feel recovered enough to get back on the court first and they didn’t rush me,” he added.

Datu just got out of the hospital last week after suffering the lung infection, the reason why he missed a total of five matches after playing in their season opener last November 9, a 107-102 loss to Meralco.

“I was disappointed, of course, but I was definitely sick,” he recalled of the ordeal he went through. “I had a fever, I had a cough, I was in the hospital — it was bad enough that I needed to be in the hospital.

“I had the fever, it kinda went away a little bit, and then I tried to work out and it just got worse to the point that I had to go to the hospital,” he added.

But he’s feeling much better now and proof of that was Friday’s game. Datu finished with 11 points on three triples, alongside five rebounds and four blocks as he helped RoS’ fourth-quarter breakaway en route to win no. 2.

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“It’s definitely a team effort, doing whatever I can to help my team win,” offered the fourth overall pick of the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft.

“Whether that’s the little things, even if I don’t get accounted for rebounds, if I can box out and someone else gets the rebound, I’m just here to get the win. Individual stats are nice, of course, but my focus is on the team.”

Now he just hopes to be fully healthy soon, keen on helping Rain or Shine turn its fortunes around in the ongoing conference where it’s currently at 2-5.

“I don’t think my lungs are 100 percent ready yet but they’re mostly there, they’re at 75 percent. I’m feeling good and confident,” he said.

Written By

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

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