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No Abueva, Romeo, Perkins and Tautuaa for Gilas in Asian Games

No Abueva, Romeo, Perkins and Tautuaa for Gilas in Asian Games

WHILE hoping concerted lobbying efforts for the approval of Tim Cone’s original 12 en masse will be fruitful, Gilas Pilipinas devised a contingency plan that should enable it to field a competitive team in the Asian Games in China.

With Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa and Terrence Romeo’s participation up in the air because of technicality, Filipino basketball officials called up Chris Ross, Arvin Tolentino, Kevin Alas and CJ Perez as possible replacements in case last-minute appeals proved unsuccessful.

Messrs. Ross, Tolentino, Alas and Perez are all part of the 37-man extended pool submitted to the Hangzhou Games organizers, from which the Final 12 should be culled. Messrs. Abueva, Perkins, Tautuaa and Romeo, though, were not in that long list.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cone tapped Marcio Lassiter to take the spot of fellow sniper RR Pogoy, who pulled out due to medical reasons. Mr. Lassiter joined original mainstays June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.

The late additions linked up with the Gilas originals, including Messrs. Abueva, Perkins, Tautuaa and Romeo, at the Inspire camp yesterday, barely a week before plunging into action in Hangzhou.

“From my understanding, we’re still finding avenues to get them (Abueva and Co.) in. They’re up at Inspire practicing with us until we get that final, final word. We haven’t got that final word yet,” said Mr. Cone in a presscon with team manager Alfrancis Chua, PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, Vice Chair Bobby Rosales, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio.

“Marcio replaced Roger and he’s on the list so he’s sure to go (to the Asiad). But the other four are not sure. If we can take our original four who’ve been practicing with us, we would prefer to take them because that would balance our lineup. They have size and they know what we want to do. But if that doesn’t happen, the new four will step in and as of now they’re still trying to catch up. They’ve got long ways to go but they’re trying to catch up with the original seven.”

Due to manpower problems, the idea of pulling out was even considered but Mr. Cone said Mr. Fajardo and the players themselves were adamant in carrying out the mission in the Sept. 23 to Oct. 10 Games.

“It’s not going to slow us down. We’re going to keep moving forward,” he said.

“Our goal is to win a gold medal and our focus is what we are doing today. Anything that’s thrown at us is not going to change our attitude. We want gold, we’re going to pursue gold.”

The rejigged Gilas lineup will have seven days to prepare for the opening game against Bahrain on the 26th.

“We have a Plan A — Mr. Tautuaa and others — now there’s a Plan B — Arvin and others. But we have a solid seven that have been there since the beginning. So if Plan A happens, that’s the best for us. If Plan B happens, we’re ready for it,” said Mr. Vargas. — Olmin Leyba

#Abueva #Romeo #Perkins #Tautuaa #Gilas #Asian #Games

Abueva energizes Gilas Pilipinas training sessions

Abueva energizes Gilas Pilipinas training sessions

CALVIN Abueva dislocated his right thumb during scrimmage, popped it back and finished the second day of Gilas Pilipinas’ training sessions for the Asian Games.

This typifies the commitment and infectious energy Mr. Abueva and the other newly-arrived reinforcements are generating in the Gilas camp.

“I really like our energy,” Gilas coach Tim Cone said after the two-hour practice at the PhilSports Arena.

Mr. Cone enlisted Mr. Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa and Stanley Pringle to join forces with FIBA World Cup holdovers June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson and RR Pogoy, WC pool members Calvin Oftana and Chris Newsome and naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.

“The players who played in the World Cup, they’re exhausted. So it’s really hard to bring the energy to the Asian Games. However, guys like Perk (Perkins) and Calvin (Abueva) and even Messrs. Oftana and Newsome who didn’t play, they’re really excited to be on the team and they have great energy. And the energy they have is infecting everybody,” said Mr. Cone.

Mr. Pogoy, who is dealing with an undisclosed medical issue, missed practice for the second straight day and underwent tests.

“He’s day-to-day. I hope we can get him tomorrow. We’ll see. We’re seeking doctor’s permission. It’s not an injury, it’s a medical issue and as soon as he’s over it, he’ll join us in practice,” said Mr. Cone of the TNT sniper.

Gilas returnee Mr. Abueva’s intensity was in full display when he went up for the offensive rebound in between Messrs. Kouame and Fajardo. Mr. Abueva related that the ball slipped and slammed into his thumb as he tapped it.

Meanwhile, Mr. Brownlee is looking forward to facing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the import who helped TNT dethrone Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup, in the Asiad. Mr. Hollis-Jefferson is suiting up for Jordan, Gilas’ group opponent.

“It’s going to be great. He’s an incredible player. I was just telling one of the guys I don’t know why he’s not in the NBA. With his talent, skillset, he definitely should be in the NBA,” said Mr. Brownlee.

“It’s an honor to play against a guy like him. It’s going to be tough so we have to be prepared. Him and Jordan, they played fairly well, they had some tough games in the World Cup.” — Olmin Leyba

#Abueva #energizes #Gilas #Pilipinas #training #sessions

Romeo, Abueva boost lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for Hangzhou Asiad

THE CAVALRY has arrived for Tim Cone’s crew for the approaching Asian Games led by balik-Gilas Pilipinas Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva.

Messrs. Romeo and Abueva, who last suited up five years ago, are among the 12 men plus one alternate Cone handpicked for the Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 Asiad in Hangzhou.

The duo joined FIBA World Cup (WC) veterans June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson and RR Pogoy, WC pool members Calvin Oftana and Chris Newsome, PBA stalwarts Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins and Stanley Pringle and naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.

However, Mr. Cone said Messrs. Abueva and Perkins’ participation are dependent on whether the AG organizers will allow them to come in as replacements for injured players Jamie Malonzo and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.

Energy guys Messrs. Abueva and Perkins are both not part of the initial list of 60 players the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas previously submitted in compliance with the Games’ requirements months ago.  Mr. Pringle, meanwhile, was enlisted as “alternate.”

Despite not getting the WC guys from the Japanese and Korean leagues, Mr. Cone is pretty satisfied with the team he assembled.

“I’m good with what we got,” Mr. Cone told reporters after the two-hour practice at the PhilSports Arena that kickstarted their two-week Asiad buildup.

“I think we got a good balance of quickness at three and four (positions) and we got good guards. We got shooters in Messrs. Roger, Terrence and Calvin and Justin. We’re pretty well equipped. We got great defenders in Messrs. Perkins and Newsome and Scottie’s all-around play.”

Messrs. Romeo and Abueva are returning to Gilas duties after the infamous brawl against Australia in July 2018.

Mr. Brownlee, who underwent surgery to remove bone spurs last month, assured he would play in the Asiad. “I feel pretty good. Of course, there’s going to be aches and pains, stuff that I probably have to play through at this time so I’m taking it step by step and slowly getting back to 100 percent or closer,” said Mr. Brownlee.

Mr. Cone said the team will hold a training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna from Sept. 16 to 21 after which they play a tuneup game against Korean club Changwon LG Sakers on the 22nd before the flight to China the next day. — Olmin Leyba

#Romeo #Abueva #boost #lineup #Gilas #Pilipinas #Hangzhou #Asiad

Hoops officials determined to bring back WC Gilas to Asiad

Hoops officials determined to bring back WC Gilas to Asiad

SBP submitted 12-man games lineup in July

FILIPINO hoops officials are determined to bring back Gilas Pilipinas’ FIBA World Cup (WC) crew — as intact as possible — for the coming 19th Asian Games in China.

Top execs of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and PBA and sat down Monday night to discuss the team’s formation and reportedly reached a consensus to reassemble as much as they can the WC group, including the think tank, for the Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 Asiad.

Present in the top-level meeting hosted by San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramon S. Ang were SBP President Al Panlilio, PBA Chairman and SBP Vice President Ricky Vargas, PBA Vice Chairman Bobby Rosales, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and San Miguel Corp. Sports Director Alfrancis Chua.

The plan is purportedly to recall the players, led by PBA stalwarts June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar for another Gilas tour three weeks after wrapping up the WC stint with a 96-75 romp over China.

As to the World Cuppers playing as imports overseas such as Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Kai Sotto and Rhenz Abando, the executives are poised to make arrangements with their respective clubs in the B. League and Korean Basketball League, for their release.

With Fil-Am gunner Jordan Clarkson back in the NBA, the task of reinforcing Gilas reverts to naturalized player Justin Brownlee.

The Barangay Ginebra resident import underwent a procedure to remove bone spurs on his foot late August and is reportedly day-to-day at this point. But the three-time PBA Best Import winner, who powered Gilas to the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, is expected to be good to go in time for the Asiad.

To preserve continuity, the execs are looking at summoning back the WC coaching staff. If coach Chot Reyes stands firm on his decision to “step aside” after the WC, anyone from his deputies led by Tim Cone and Jong Uichico, will likely be handed the reins.

Mr. Cone, though, had previously stated he’s not interested in taking over.

The PBA is expected to announce details of its participation in the Asiad tomorrow in a press conference.

But according to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), the SBP already submitted a 12-man crew to the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) Organizing Committee last July 25.

The roster included seven from WC cast in Messrs. Fajardo, Thompson, Pogoy, Jamie Malonzo, Kiefer Ravena, Japeth Aguilar and CJ Perez with Brownlee and another naturalized player Ange Kouame. Rounding out the list are Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, and Brandon Rosser.

POC President Bambol Tolentino said Messrs. Brownlee and Kouame are both eligible to suit up with Asiad requiring them to show only a Philippine passport.

If the SBP decides to alter the 12, Mr. Tolentino said the federation needs to appeal before the Hangzhou organizers.

Though finishing with 1-4 and missing its two-win target, Gilas’ WC performance provides a good start or even momentum for the Asiad and beyond.

“Like many kababayans (countrymen), it was difficult to see our Gilas fall short. This may sound tough but the truth is, others are bigger, better and more skilled in many other ways. Perhaps, it’s still not our time but we are certainly well on our way. And this experience, for sure will add on to being more ready to be on the world stage again,” Blackwater coach Jeff Cariaso said.

“Let’s build on our victory against China. We demonstrated our ability to compete and established our dominance in Asia. We have a young core that makes us optimistic about the future. Let’s focus on the positives and move forward together.” — Olmin Leyba

#Hoops #officials #determined #bring #Gilas #Asiad

Gilas earns a spot in Olympic qualifiers after routing China

Gilas earns a spot in Olympic qualifiers after routing China

GILAS Pilipinas couldn’t have picked a better parting shot in the FIBA World Cup (WC) played on Philippine soil.

A morale-boosting victory in the WC after nine years of futility, at home in front of a loud and proud “Sixth Man” and at the expense of a bitter rival in Asian hoops and, taking it deeper, territorial dispute.

And the breath of fresh air that was the 96-75 rout of China Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum actually did more than provide a feel-good vibe after a string of letdowns since posting an 81-79 win over Senegal back in 2014 edition.

The ego-boosting 21-point triumph, in the end, proved enough to give Gilas a second crack at the Paris Olympics via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).

When the smoke of battle in the Classification Phase cleared, the Philippines wound up second in Group M with 1-4 behind South Sudan’s 3-2 and 24th overall in the 32-team field. This was enough to earn them an invite to the OQT early next year as the “13th best team not qualified yet.”

Co-host Japan (3-2) clinched a direct entry to Paris as the best Asian team of the WC, joining top African side South Sudan, No. 1 Oceania team Australia (2-2 at presstime) and host France.

In danger of repeating the infamy of the 0-5 outing in the 2019 WC, Jordan Clarkson and Co. stepped up to the plate and made it an explosive last hurrah.

“For sure, we didn’t want our hosting to end without gifting the Filipino people with a victory,” said coach Chot Reyes, referring to the 11,080-strong crowd who braved the heavy rains and strong winds to support the team despite previous heartbreakers in the first round against the Dominican Republic, Angola and Italy and the classification opening game versus South Sudan.

“Look at them, it’s stormy outside. We’re just basically playing for nothing, but they all came out. So, we just owe this to the Filipino people,” added Mr. Reyes, who later announced his intention to vacate the post in the wake of severe bashing on his person and family on social media.

Mr. Reyes said he wrote only two words on the board before the emotional battle with Team Dragon: “Dig Deep.”

“We just told the players to come out and play, do what they do best, and that is to hoop and play ball. In fact, we had no X’s and O’s on our board; we just had the words ‘Dig Deep’ on our board today. That’s what they did,” he said. — Olmin Leyba

#Gilas #earns #spot #Olympic #qualifiers #routing #China