Kings bracing for worst on Malonzo’s health issue

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Kings bracing for worst on Malonzo�s health issue
Jamie Malonzo
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — While hoping for the best, Barangay Ginebra is bracing for the worst as it deals with the injury that hit wingman Jamie Malonzo last Sunday.

The athletic Fil-Am went down by his lonesome while driving to the basket in the dying seconds of the Gin Kings’ 95-88 win over NorthPort last Sunday. Concerned teammates gathered around Malonzo, who appeared to have hurt his right foot or calf, and had to carry him off to the locker room of the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The extent of the injury is undetermined at this point. But just the same, Cone tasked the healthier guys to take the cudgels in case Malonzo (14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game) needs more recovery time.

“At this point, he’ll be out for at least a few days. Hopefully, it doesn’t stretch into weeks or months because we can’t afford to lose him,” said Cone, whose team plays its next game on Friday against TNT.

“He’s such a valuable part of our team and such a great teammate. Everybody loves him so we’re all going to feel bad if he’s not able to play. But just like any other thing, it’s next man up,” he added.

Cone hopes to continue drawing an outstanding performance from promising rookie Ralph Cu, who came an assist short of a triple-double against the Batang Pier, and get a cranked-up game from the likes of backup forward Sydney Onwubere to fill the void.

“If we can continue to get the kind of game we got from Ralph, that’s what we talk about in terms of next-man-up,” he said.

“Maybe now Sydney’s going to have to step up, or Stan (Pringle) stepping up some more. That’s the position we’ll have to fill out if Jamie’s not ready to go,” he added.

The multi-titled mentor expressed high hopes on Cu, fresh off a Best Player of the Game nod after his 29-10-9 outing Sunday.

“When he went to first practice, everybody was ‘wow, this kid can play.’ He just had a calm, relaxed presence about him. He sees the floor really well and he has really great instincts,” said Cone of Cu, the former star for Ginebra’s PBA 3x3 team.

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