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TNT forward Ranidel de Ocampo set to return next conference

Ranidel de Ocampo I File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Out to redeem itself after a forgettable Philippine Cup stint, Talk ‘N Text will get a much-needed shot in the arm with the return of veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo when the Tropang Texters open their title defense of the Commissioner’s Cup on February 10.

The 6-foot-5 De Ocampo missed all but one game of the all-Filipino conference after hurting his lower back while lifting weights last year.

But after months of strengthening, the Gilas mainstay appears ready to reassume his role as Talk ‘N Text’s stretch four.

“Nagpa-practcie na naman siya, but just a little bit of contact, mga individual workout. He should be ready for the second conference, assuming the way we think he should,” Uichico told Philstar.com.

De Ocampo, who played almost non-stop for more than two years due to his stint with Gilas Pilipinas, should be ready for full practice next week.

Talk ‘N Text physical therapist Dexter Aseron explained that De Ocampo religiously attended his workout sessions even during the Holiday break in a bid to get back into shape.

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“Nag-rest lang talaga siya at strengthening ng unti unti. Kahit Christmas and New Year, tuloy tuloy lang din siya,” said Aseron.

“Bukod sa weight training, fino-focus lang naming palakasin yung core niya. Iyun ang pinaka-kailangan para di na maulit yung nangyari sa kanya,” he added.

Meanwhile, rookie big man Troy Rosario might miss several games at the start of the mid-season, import-spiced conference while he recovers from a left shoulder injury he sustained during the team’s quarterfinal loss to Rain or Shine in the Philippine Cup.

Aseron mentioned that Rosario was fortunate enough to not undergo shoulder surgery anymore after seeking medical advice from experts.

“Malaking bagay yung hindi na siya (Rosario) na-operahan kundi rest lang and strengthening,” he said.

Fellow rookie Moala Tautuaa is expected to step up the plate at the power forward spot, where he’s expected to team up with balik-import Ivan Johnson and De Ocampo.

Talk ‘N Text ruled last season’s Commissioner’s Cup after subduing Rain or Shine in an epic seven-game Finals series.

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