MANILA, Philippines - Barangay Ginebra guard Mark Caguioa, who won the award as best player of the just-ended PBA conference, has recently rejoined the team's practice, although it remains uncertain if he will play in the season-ending Governors' Cup that starts Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
Ginebra mentor Siot Tanquingcen said yesterday that the 6-foot-1 guard was finally given the 'green light' by doctors to join the team's training but was advised to do it gradually so as not to aggravate his injured right eye.
"We'll see how he will respond," Tanquingcen told the Bulletin in a phone interview. "According to Mark's doctors, it should be gradual. Then after two weeks, he'll be re-evaluated and will go from there if he can really play."
"It's always good news that guys are getting back healthy. There is still possibility of a surgery, though we're hoping for the best he won't have one. Even Mark doesn't want to undergo operation. Now it's a trial period," Tanquingcen added.
Caguioa, 32, has been sidelined since late March after sustaining a fractured right eye socket when it was accidentally hit by the left wrist of B-Meg's James Yap during the team's playoff game that decided the No. 2 spot in the previous PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Because of the injury, Caguioa was sidelined during Ginebra's best-of-five semifinal series with B-Meg, the eventual champion of the second conference.
According to Tanquingcen, Caguioa still has migraine, one of the effects from his fractured orbital socket, and that only indicates that "Mark isn't 100 percent healthy" and still needs time to recover before he can play again.
"Let's just see how he goes. He can actually do everything, but as I've said just gradual. There are no limitations on what he does," Tanquingcen said.
Ginebra, which will continue to miss veteran center Eric Menk after suffering a pulled hamstring in practice recently, will start its PBA Governors' Cup campaign on Wednesday (May 23) against Air21 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Meantime, former University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) guard Cedric Bozeman continues to impress Tanquingcen in practice, but the Ginebra coach said they will know how good the ex- Atlanta Hawk when the tournament begins.
"We'll really know during the course of the conference. Although, I think he has a good attitude," he said. "He's also getting along well with his teammates. We got him because he can fill our need at the two guard positions since he's a combo-guard."