MANILA, Philippines—A few names who were invited to the Philippines men’s national team camp have not shown up—but GlobalPort’s Gary David isn’t one of them.
It doesn’t matter if he can’t play in tournaments slated in January, David was still present in the Smart Gilas Pilipinas’ first practice Friday.
“Gary D. comes to practice but won’t play as the doctor advised one month of strengthening and therapy for his foot,” said national team head coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account (@coachot).
David has been sidelined by an injury for most of the PBA Philippine Cup, and with his squad’s early exit — he has longer time to regain tiptop shape for next conference.
But if he isn’t going to be providing the points for Smart Gilas, at least he’s contributing in some other way he can.
“At s’ya ang nagtuturo sa mga bago,” said Reyes of David’s presence in the practice, where the cadet pool is also joining in.
Smart Gilas has started its preparations for the Fiba Asia Championships August next year — and the Dubai Invitationals on mid-January serves as its first tune-up for the new line-up.
But with keys guys like LA Tenorio and David nursing injuries and Petron Blaze’s stalwarts Arwind Santos and Junmar Fajardo still no show, Reyes will make do of what roster he has.
Smart Gilas has the top collegiate players in the country in tow, and has tapped PBA players like Ronjay Buenafe, Niño Canaleta, and Jay-R Reyes among others.
“We also wanted Arwind and Junemar, but since wala sila we go down our depth chart again: KG (Canaleta) for AS (Arwind Santos) and sana Japeth (Aguilar) for JF (Junmar Fajardo). Now we have JR Reyes,” said Reyes.
“Last night’s practice went well, better than expected in fact. We fight with what we have, the GILAS way,” Reyes tweeted.
The national team holds practice until Sunday, then goes on a break for Christmas. Practice resumes next week.