MANILA, Philippines – Injury woes continue to pile up for the De La Salle Green Archers.
After losing big man Taane Samuel for up to two months due to a Jones fracture, La Salle will now have to play most of the elimination round without team captain Kib Montalbo.
A source confirmed to Rappler that Montalbo, who's playing in his final season of eligibility, will miss 4 to 6 weeks after fracturing his left thumb in La Salle's win over UE on Sunday, September 23.
The injury occurred with 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter. After Green Archers big man Justine Baltazar missed second of his free throw attempts, Montalbo hurt his thumb as he tried to retrieve the loose ball.
Montalbo managed to continue playing throughout the game, finishing with two points in 15 minutes as La Salle defeated UE to go up 2-1 in the UAAP Season 81 standings.
After the game against UE, Montalbo sent a tweet that, as it now turns out, was quite likely related to his injury.
Not now please — Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) September 23, 2018
Nevertheless, this puts Coach Louie Gonzales and the rest of the Green Archers in a dire situation. La Salle lined-up only 13 players this season, which means it will now only have 11 healthy players moving forward for at least the foreseeable future.
Losing Montalbo also hurts La Salle's overall experience and leadership. Although not an explosive scorer, Montalbo's defense, energy, and steadiness are of great importance to the Green Archers' gameplan.
Montalbo was also La Salle's leading assist man with an average of a little over 5 dimes a game.
With Montalbo shelved, that will mean more responsibility for Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Jolo Go, and rookie Encho Serrano. – Rappler.com