Ginebra head coach Tim Cone was glad to see his side pull off a come-from-behind win over Phoenix despite missing the services of Japeth Aguilar.
The reigning champs rallied from 19 points down and came away with the 94-87 victory, which snapped their two-game losing skid and moved them to a share of the seventh spot in the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup standings.
“We did it despite the absence of Japeth,” he said moments after the match at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“That even makes it that sweeter.”
The 6-foot-9 slotman did not see action no thanks to a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in his knee, which he sustained during their loss to the league-leading TNT Tropang Giga last week, according to the decorated mentor,
“I think it was early in the fourth quarter when Talk N Text was starting to pull away from us. I think we got down to like seven, then they stretched it to like 12. Then Japeth said he had to come out of the game,” he recalled.
“He got bumped on the side of his knee and that usually indicates an MCL injury. If it was an ACL injury, he’d be out for six, eight, nine months, but it was an MCL, so those are less severe,” he added.
No tears were found in the said ligament, though. Still, that does not make the 23-time champion coach less worried.
And the former Finals Most Valuable Player being out possibly for two to three weeks could impose yet another challenge for the Gin Kings, given how compressed the conference’s schedule has been.
“The good news is he had no tears on the MCL, so it’s really a sprain, and that can take up to two to three weeks of repair to get back.
“But we’re so short in here. Three weeks is almost like the whole conference. So, I don’t know when he’ll be back at this point,” Cone said.
Now, Cone only has his fingers crossed that his top big man will be able to come back the soonest as they aim to keep their hold of the throne.
“It’s kinda day-to-day, but we’re hoping he can get back at some point,” he said.
“It really depends on how strong his knee feels.”