THE wait for Roger Pogoy may not be that long for TNT so the Tropang Giga want to give him a more welcoming scenario when their beloved guard makes his return.
Starting with TNT's match against a Terrafirma side trying to deal with its own health problems Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Each team is eyeing a second straight win in the 4 p.m. encounter and thus improve to a 2-1 record. At first glance, it seems the odds favor TNT more.
Top gunner Juami Tiongson and Kemark Carino remain doubtful due to illness while import Thomas de Thaey is reportedly nursing a groin injury that may force Dyip coach Johnedel Cardel to limit the Belgian's minutes.
That should come as another welcome news for TNT, already buoyed up by the news that Pogoy, who was supposed to miss the conference due to a heart condition, may be back sooner than initially projected.
"Medyo malapit na Roger. Last (health) bulletin from Roger, his heart... wala na siyang signs," related Lastimosa.
"He passed all the stress tests, and then sabi ng doctors na nag-check sa kanya, instead of six months we could probably see Roger in this conference. And I'm looking at Roger - kasi nag-start na siyang mag-workout sa amin, eh - we could probably see him as early as Christmas Day (against Barangay Ginebra).
"As of now, nag-uumpisa pa lang siya ng shooting, light workout, weights, getting in shape."
Lastimosa's immediate focus, however, is still centered on Terrafirma, which he views as a far different team now than the one which used to be a perennial cellar-dweller.
"Maayos na team sila ngayon," quipped Lastimosa. "Meron na silang firepower aside from Juami, si Javi (Gomez de Liano) is playing well, Isaac Go is playing well."
It is Stephen Holt whom Lastimosa is more concerned about, especially since the top overall pick in the rookie draft churned out 21 points, six rebounds and six assists in the Dyip's 113-112 squeaker over NLEX last Saturday.
"Kasi kung titingnan mo credentials niya, this guy is a legit player," explained Lastimosa. "Medyo masama lang laro niya in his first couple of games. But now you know in his last game maganda ipinakita niya. So we gotta deal with that kind of player."