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De Ocampo thought career over

Talk ’N Text veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo thought that his PBA career is over, and that he won’t be able to walk again when he suffered a scary back injury late last month.

“Kala ko tapos na,” de Ocampo said yesterday.

The 6-foot-6 forward was diagnosed with a herniated disc while lifting weights during the Tropang Texters’ practice session last Oct. 26 at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.

A six-time All-Star, de Ocampo was rushed at the Makati Medical Center where he spent nearly a week before he was discharged since the injury did not require him to have a surgery.

According to de Ocampo, he was able to return the weights after he felt something popped on his back.

“Pagkatapos nun, hindi ko na magalaw yung katawan ko. Doon ko naisip na tapos na… na wala na. Kasi hindi ako maka-galaw e,” said de Ocampo as he recounted that frightening moment in his life.

“Nahirapan nga sila (teammates and team personnel) ilagay ako sa stretcher e, siyempre ingat na ingat din sila sa akin. Natakot talaga ako sa nangyari sa akin,” added de Ocampo.

One that concerned 33-year-old de Ocampo on the night he was at the hospital with his wife Diane was Gilas Pilipinas, where he was named to the 17-man national team training pool.

“Isa yun sa pumasok sa isip ko,” said de Ocampo. “Kaya nung nasa ospital ako talagang naiyak ako sa wife ko e.

Naghalo-halo na, pagod, takot, yung concerns mo. Hindi ko napigil.”

The versatile forward said what happened to him was part of nearly a non-stop work since 2011. After his stint with TNT, he was one of the players that reinforced the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas during 2011 the FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.

His stint with the national team continued in the next four years as he played for Gilas in the Asian championship at home in 2013, the FIBA World Cup in Spain in 2014 and the Asian Games in Korea that same year, and in the FIBA Asia this year in Changsha, China.

The next tournament of the national team is the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) next year. Gilas coach Tab Baldwin has already started practice session of Monday-only at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.

“Sabi nga, sa pagod na din kasi wala ako halos pahinga e. Pero naisip ko din siyempre yung Gilas, also yung Talk ’N Text. Blessing in disguise na din kasi yung mga bago namin sa team (TNT) mabibigyan ng playing time,” added the former St. Francis of Assisi star.

“Tignan na lang natin kung makaka-sama ako sa national team, kung kaya wala naming problema e. Importante ngayon is maka-recover, maka-balik ako sa dati,” added de Ocampo.