Meralco's Ranidel de Ocampo continues to deal with back injury

Meralco Bolts forward Ranidel de Ocampo is currently recovering from the back spasms that have kept him away from team practices in recent weeks and is unsure what the timetable for his return is.

"For now I can't say, but I need to rest for a few more days. I can't answer that for now, but I hope everything turns out okay," De Ocampo told ESPN5.com. "The back spasms keep returning. Sometimes after practice, it comes back again even if they're not there before the start of the session. It's unpredictable, it's difficult."

De Ocampo admitted that he's gotten frustrated over the fact that he's dealing with another injury just before the start of another conference.

"It's a recurring injury," he said. "Of course I want to help the team, but this always happens."

De Ocampo was healthy most of his time with TNT, but persistently battled injuries when he moved to Meralco two years ago. He notably sustained a torn calf muscle that sidelined him for the entire 2018 Philippine Cup, then later suffered a mild Achilles tear that set him back three weeks the following conference.

De Ocampo, who has been relatively healthy this season, said it's not the first time this year that he's been sidelined by back spasms.

"After I recovered from my herniated disc (in 2015), I continuously played for a few years but when I arrived here in Meralco, all the injuries suddenly appeared. Maybe it's because the body's exhausted," he said.

He believes playing non-stop basketball took a toll on his body.

"It's also because I've continued playing for the national team," said De Ocampo. "That's why I always have injuries. This is the result of being a good soldier. Anytime I got called by the national team, I was ready to play immediately. I played in the PBA, played in the national team, and I didn't get a lot of rest. I didn't think about the other things anymore. It wasn't about my self-interest anymore, it's about what the whole country needed."

Despite the injuries and the repetitive cycle of stress and additional work that come with it, De Ocampo said retiring hasn't crossed his mind yet.

"I can't say yet. I don't know what's happening to my body. Whatever God gives me, I'll take it," he said.

For now, De Ocampo is looking forward to a quick recovery to help the Bolts in the season-ending conference.

"I've been undergoing therapy and extra strengthening exercises. Hopefully come game time I'm in shape," he shared. "I hope this Governors' Cup I'll be able to complete a full conference."