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Kia activates Escoto ahead of TNT clash

Russel Escoto could finally make a return to the Kia lineup. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Looking to further shore up its frontline, Kia decided to activate Russel Escoto ahead of the team's Wednesday night battle against TNT in the PBA Philippine Cup, hinting that the six-foot-six center-forward could make a return to play after suffering a knee injury.

In the process, the Picanto relegated Prince Caperal to the unrestricted free agent with right to salary (UFAWR2S) list.

Escoto only played 10 games last season, his maiden campaign in the PBA, before re-injuring his ACL.

However, he has joined the recent Kia practices, prompting Coach Ricky Dandan to give him the go-signal for a possible season debut.

Also making a return for the 4:30 p.m. match-up at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay are Jack Corpuz and Carlo Lastimosa.

Despite the return of Escoto and Corpuz, Dandan is keen on still giving Jon Gabriel quality minutes following his impressive debut last week.

"I expect him to be part of the rotation now," said Dandan.

Meanwhile, Alex Compton and his former partner Louie Alas lock horns for the first time as Alaska and Phoenix collide in the nightcap at 7 p.m.

The partnership actually started in 1999 when Alas replaced Dandan as the head coach of the Manila Metrostars in the MBA, in turn making Compton his chief gunner, which netted them their one and only MBA title.

Compton then opted to bring Alas to his coaching staff with the Aces, but their three-year renewed alliance came to an end after Alas accepted the head coaching offer for the Fuel Masters.

"Coach Louie and [Assistant] Coach Topex [Robinson] have been with me for three years and they know my values and what we teach," said Compton. "It will be an exhausting battle for both teams and a really exciting game for the PBA fans."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno