MANILA, Philippines -- Veteran Alaska swingman Kevin Racal suffered a torn ACL in his right knee in the Aces' first game of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup and is expected to miss at least six months.
Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso announced Thursday morning that Racal's MRI showed a complete tear of the ACL in his right knee.
"He's done for the bubble," he said. "That's a big hit on us."
Racal suffered the injury midway through the third quarter of Alaska's game against the TNT KaTropa on Sunday night. He had eight points and two rebounds, but the Aces went on to lose, 100-95.
The former Colegio de San Juan de Letran standout is still in the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga, as the team is still determining how to move forward.
"We still don't have a definite plan kung magi-stay ba siya kaunti, aalis na ba siya kaagad," said Cariaso. "We're still bearing the news that we won't have him for the rest of the bubble."
Losing Racal is a big blow to the Aces, said Cariaso, especially as they need his defensive versatility. That side of the floor has been a major issue for Alaska in their two games so far in the Philippine Cup: they gave up 45 points to Roger Pogoy in their first game, and had several breakdowns against the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday night.
"We know naman the type of player Kevin is. Kevin is, you know, he's been known to be a defensive player, so he's one of our best defenders at the wings and the guards," said Cariaso. "So it's up to our guards and for our wings to step up defensively for him."
This marks the second time that Racal has suffered a major knee injury as he also tore the ACL in his left knee during Letran's campaign in NCAA Season 90. He recovered fully from that and went on to lead the Knights to the title the next season.
Cariaso is optimistic that Racal will once again make a full recovery.
"Right now, the immediate goal is get surgery, rest, rehab and then get back. We believe he'll be able to come back," he said. "There's so many players that have gone through ACL injuries that have come back with lots of success. It's just unfortunate nangyari dito."
Alaska currently has a 0-2 record in the Philippine Cup.