THE Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) return from seven months of lull because of the coronavirus pandemic was successfully staged last week but not without setbacks, particularly on the injury front with some players getting hurt in varying degrees.

Currently ongoing at the Clark City in Angeles, Pampanga, the PBA Philippine Cup resumed on Oct. 11 and was widely welcomed and received by stakeholders who were looking forward to have their steady fix of local basketball entertainment back after the league decided to suspend its season because of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

But the return celebration was somehow dampened by a number of players getting injured on reopening week.

Among those who got injured were Kevin Racal of the Alaska Aces, Terrence Romeo of the San Miguel Beermen, Roger Pogoy and Kib Montalbo of the TNT Tropang Giga, and Jericho Rosales of the NLEX Road Warriors.

Messrs. Racal and Romeo had it rough as they have been ruled out for the remainder of the bubble tournament for the gravity of their injuries.

Alaska’s Racal went down with an ACL injury in the resumption’s first game.

He was playing defense when his knee buckled down.

The Aces starting forward played only 13 minutes in his lone game, finishing with eight points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Alaska moved on to lose the game.

Mr. Racal is set to undergo knee operation soon.

San Miguel’s Romeo, for his part, suffered a separated shoulder in their game versus TNT on Friday.

The flashy guard collided with veteran Tropang Giga player Ryan Reyes in the early goings of the contest and immediately clutched his right shoulder after.

Mr. Romeo was going great guns when he got hurt, scoring 11 points on four-of-six shooting. He played only 14 minutes in his last game in the bubble.

No surgery is required for his injury, but expected recovery would take six to eight weeks. Mr. Romeo left the bubble for Manila last Saturday.

Also last Friday in the same game, TNT gunner Pogoy suffered a sprained ankle when he landed on the foot of San Miguel guard Gelo Alolino.

Mr. Pogoy is TNT’s second leading scorer with 23.7 points per game in three matches to go along with seven rebounds. His status with the injury is day-to-day.

TNT rookie Montalbo, meanwhile, is nursing a plantar fasciitis on his foot after playing in their first game in the return. He is expected to be out for a couple of weeks.

NLEX’s Cruz, for his part, also sprained his ankle in the Road Warriors’ 103-100 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok on Oct. 14, where he had 17 markers.

He missed his team’s last game versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday. NLEX remains winless in three games to date.

For the PBA, while it laments the misfortune that befell the above-mentioned players, it is praying that no more of such incidents happen in the bubble.

But, nonetheless, it expressed readiness to address any eventuality, saying that its medical team is ready and capable, and that partner facilities like the Medical City in Clark are available in the bubble.

Under the PBA bubble, teams and league participants are to be holed up in the Clark City area for the duration of the tournament with the end view of finishing at least one conference in the PBA’s pandemic-hit season. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo