De Ocampo searches for timing, rhythm in Gilas return

MANILA, Philippines – After 3 gruelling weeks of watching from the sidelines, unable to play or practice for Gilas Pilipinas, veteran forward Ranidel De Ocampo was finally able to let off some steam when he trained for the first time on Wednesday, August 26.

Masaya kasi tagal din akong nanonood lang ng practice,” he shared his thoughts after practice. “Mahirap kasi yung nanonood lang. Nakakamiss din yung court.” (I’m happy because I’ve been watching practices for so long. It’s hard to just watch. I missed the court.)

De Ocampo, 33, was sidelined for 3 weeks due to a right hamstring injury. He was initially supposed to stay behind during the team’s week-long Estonia trip, but he ended up joining though did not play in the 4-nation pocket tournament. 

Lalo nung games namin sa Estonia, gustong gusto ko talaga maglaro noon,” said the Talk ’N Text mainstay. “Masaya naman ako at nakabalik na ako sa practice lalo na ngayon medyo wala ako masyado nararamdaman sa injury ko. Nakapag-full practice na ako.” 

(During our games in Estonia, I wanted to badly to play there. But I’m happy I’m back in practice especially now that I don’t feel much pain in my injury. I’m able to do a full practice.) 

Diligently observing from the sidelines during his injury, De Ocampo is up to speed in terms of coach Tab Baldwin’s system, the plays, and the defensive sets. He said his primary concern right now is getting his rhythm and timing back, especially as Gilas is set to compete this weekend at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan. 

Doon na lang ako sa timing tsaka doon sa pag-feel ng bola, ng court tsaka ng teammate (I just have to work on my timing and my feel of the ball, the court and my teammates),” he said. 

Close friend and Gilas teammate Marc Pingris also joined practice the same day as De Ocampo. Their return, along with the presence of Fil-Am Los Angeles Laker Jordan Clarkson, provided a shot of confidence for the national team, which is eyeing the gold at this year’s FIBA Asia Championship happening a month from now in Changsha, Hunan, China. –