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Zav Lucero set for PBA debut in NorthPort's PH Cup opener vs NLEX

Zav Lucero is set to make his pro debut nearly 15 months after his ACL injury. UAAP Season 85 Media Team (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Zav Lucero is set to finally make his PBA debut on Friday night when NorthPort takes on NLEX to begin their Philippine Cup campaign.

The league announced on Thursday that the six-foot-seven forward, the fifth overall pick of last year's draft, has been activated for the said game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tip-off at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

To make way for Lucero's entry, John Amores, who had solid contributions to the Batang Pier during the Commissioner's Cup, was relegated to the reserve list.

This will be Lucero's first game since Game 3 of the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball finals back on Dec. 19, 2022.

The game, coincidentally, also took place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Five nights before that, however, Lucero hurt his ACL in Game 2 but was given a proper send-off by the University of the Philippines in Game 3 by inserting him late in the match as a substitute shooter to take a free throw with the outcome already favoring Ateneo back then.

Lucero's camp decided to devote the entire 2023 to rehabilitation, and nearly 15 months after his knee injury, he could be making his way back to the hardwood on Friday night.

Whether his energy and athleticism that helped the Fighting Maroons capture the UAAP Season 84 title also back in 2022 remain intact post-ACL injury remains to be seen, but Lucero should be of great help to shore up the Batang Pier's frontline led by Arvin Tolentino, the league's top local scorer last conference, and Rookie of the Year contender Cade Flores.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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