Thursday, September 22, 2011

Al-Hussaini will return Big Time in PBA

ALTHOUGH the overwhelming urge is there, Rabeh Al-Hussaini is not rushing his return to Petron Blaze for the coming PBA wars.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year said he wants his torn anterior cruciate ligament to be fully healed and he is fully fit before he makes his return for the Boosters.

“I won’t risk my health. Ibang klaseng injury ang ACL,” said Al-Hussaini. “Gusto ko kung babalik ako sa laro, ’yung talagang ready na ako at makaka-contribute na ako sa team.”

The former Ateneo hotshot, tabbed No. 2 overall in the 2010 Rookie Draft, suffered an ACL tear in his right knee in their Governors Cup semifinal encounter against B-MEG last August 3 and missed the entire championship series.

“Tandang-tanda ko ’yung petsa na ’yon. Kasi talagang first time ko magkaroon ng ganoong klaseng injury and I was really in tremendous pain,” he related. What‘s more disappointing for Al-Hussaini is the fact that he was not able to help Petron. Good thing the Boosters, behind Arwind Santos and import Anthony Grundy, foiled the Tropang Texters’ Grand Slam bid by winning the series in seven games.

“Masaya ako for the team because nag-champion kami, pero alam mo ’yung feeling na hindi ka nakatulong,” said Al-Hussaini. “Pero okay na rin dahil nanalo kami sa series.”

The 6-foot-7 center said he expects to return on January at the earliest as he continues to undergo therapy on his right knee.

“Depende kasi sa progress ng therapy. Sabi ng doctor either January or February puwede na ako makabalik sa laro,” he said.

“Pero ang gusto ko, kung babalik ako ’yung talagang 100 percent physically ready na ako. I don’t want to endanger my career dahil lang sa pagmamadaling makabalik,” Al-Hussaini added. Petron starts its campaign on Oct. 5 and head coach Ato Agustin said Al-Hussaini’s absence in the whole elimination round of the All-Filipino tournament has a great effect in their coming campaign especially after trading away Mick Pennisi to Barako Bull.

Pennisi was part of the multi-player deal that allowed the Boosters to acquire Filipino-American forward Chris Lutz. Barako also got Sunday Salvacion while the Boosters got back Dondon Hontiveros and Al-Hussaini’s half-brother Carlo Sharma.

Aside from Al-Hussaini, Anthony Washington will also be out for a few games for Petron in the Philippine Cup due to a foot injury.

Despite his abbreviated rookie season, Al-Hussaini was the hands-down choice for the Rookie of the Year honors, beating teammate and the No. 1 overall pick Nonoy Baclao. (NC)

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